News Agencies – October 27, 2010
In a newly released audio tape Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden threatens to kill French citizens to avenge their country’s support for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and a new law that will ban face-covering Muslim veils. In the tape posted on Al-Jazeera’s website, bin Laden said France was aiding the Americans in the killing of Muslim women and children in an apparent reference to the war in Afghanistan. He said the kidnapping of five French citizens in the African nation of Niger last month was a reaction to what he called France’s oppression of Muslims.
The authenticity of the tape could not be immediately verified but the voice resembled that of the terror group leader on previous tapes determined to be genuine. France’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. France has about 4,000 troops deployed in and near Afghanistan. CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) president, Mohammed Moussaoui, condemned the threat.
Muslim extremists behind a YouTube rant posted eight days before a scuffle during a homecoming parade of British troops were revealed today. The five men, who use aliases and the group name Muslims Against Crusades, are believed to have taken the names of known terrorists and supporters.
They whipped up a mob of 40 protesters in Barking on Tuesday, and held placards reading “baby killers” and “murderers” as more than 200 soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment were welcomed home from Afghanistan.
Muslims Against Crusades have claimed responsibility for the protest and the YouTube clip that urged others to take part. The video’s speaker calls himself Abu Amanah. Abu Assadullah, who is believed to lead the group, shares the name of a leader involved with terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. A second man claims to be Abu Faris, linked to the same terror network. Another man calls himself Abu Jandal, one of Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguards. A fourth man claims to be called Abu Abbas, a Palestinian jet hijacker.
An audio tape allegedly created by Osama bin Laden says he came up with the idea for the Christmas Day attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
In the tape he claims the attack was meant to reiterate earlier messages he has sent to the US, such as those delivered on 9/11, and that attacks will continue as long as America continues to support Israel.
US officials and researchers say the claim lacks hard evidence, and that big Laden is just trying to appear relevant. Still, he does have a history of connections to al-Qaida in Yemen, where Abdulmutallab was allegedly trained for the attack.
Spain has rejected an asylum request from Omar Osama bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, after deciding that he did not meet the condition necessary for him to remain in the country. “The Interior Ministry has not accepted the request for asylum because this does not meet the conditions necessary for entering Spain,” an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Omar, who has been living in Cairo with his wife, has renounced his father and mentioned that he wants to be an “ambassador for peace” between the Muslim world and the West.
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On the Al Qaeda linked Ekhlas website, a section in Italian was launched on the previously all-Arabic website. Ekhlas’ Italian section appears to take the place of a former imam from the northern Italian city of Carmagnola; the Italian postal police shut down the blog in February. The new section in Italian includes a welcome message and a forum that appears to be targeted to Italian Muslims. Participants in the forum make reference to Bin Laden, and love for the mujahadeen. Discussions on the website include the recent conversion of Magdi Allam, an Italian journalist who converted from Islam to Catholicism.
One of the eight men accused of a plot to blow up transatlantic flights dedicated his actions to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, a court heard today. The 19-minute “martyrdom” video of Umar Islam, 29, was played to the jury at Woolwich crown court. Wearing a black and white checked headscarf, and sitting in front of a black flag covered in Arabic writing, Islam said Allah “loves us to die and kill in his path”. “To Mullah Omar and Sheikh Osama and the brothers, keep on going, keep on remaining firm, but truly you have inspired many of the Muslims and you have inspired me personally to follow the true path of the prophet,” he said. Six of the eight defendants on trial recorded videos outlining their hatred of the west and threatening further attacks, prosecutors said. The videos were found in the car and garage of another defendant, Assad Sarwar. During his speech, Islam pointed his finger at the camera and repeatedly checked notes on his lap. Haroon Siddique reports.
Alleged jet bomb plotters had drawn up plans to target nuclear power stations, gas and oil refineries, and the National Grid and Canary Wharf – a gas pipeline which extends between Belgium and the UK. Prosecutors told a UK court that police had recovered a video showing five of the eight suspects recording suicide messages and contemplating a violent death in the name of Islam. In on video, one of the suspects refers to Sheikh Osama Bin Laden’s warnings to the west. Recordings reveled explicit messages about revenge concerning Western presence in Islamic countries, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All eight men deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit an act of violence likely to endanger an aircraft.
Security officials in Italy are treating Osama’ bin Laden’s new accusations against Pope Benedict very seriously. An interior minister spokesperson said that security and anti-terrorism officials plan to meet and examine the taped message, in which the Al Qaeda leader said that offending cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were part of a new crusade involving the Pope. The accusations are absolutely unfounded said the pope’s chief spokesperson, Reverend Federico Lombardi. While Bin Laden did not specify any action or target, Italian security is concerned, the Vatican has no plans for altering security that is already in place for public events leading up to Easter.
Among the European Muslims to respond to Osama Bin Laden’s threats to punish European countries over the reprinting of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad was Lhaj Thami Breze, head of the UOIF (Union of French Islamic Organizations). Breze stated, His [Bin Laden] threats are unacceptable in letter and spirit. Other European Muslim leaders, like Ibrahim Al-Zayyat of the Islamic Assembly in Germany, Kamal El-Helbawi of the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism, Abdel Hamdi Hamdy of the Danish Islamic Shura Council and Abu Saed Ali of the Islamic League for Dialogue and Reconciliation in Spain, concurred.
In his most recent audio recording, Osama bin Laden warned Europe of a reckoning for publishing controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. In the message, which was addressed to intelligent ones, bin Laden said that the publishing of the insulting drawings was a greater crime than Western forces targeting Muslim villages, and killing women and children. The five-minute audio message titled May Our Mothers Be Bereaved of Us If We Fail to Help Our Prophet was posted to As-Sahab, a media arm of Al Qaeda. The messages coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. Bin Laden specifically mentioned Pope Benedict XVI in the message, saying that he played a significant role in the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, which he considered part of a new crusade against Muslims.