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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) planned to attack the Statue of Liberty in New York City with pressure cooker bombs, it has been revealed.

Munther Omar Saleh, 21, and Fareed Mumuni, 22, both from New York, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to support ISIS and plotting a bomb blast in the city in February 2017, but new details of their plot have come to light.

Court filings released ahead of the sentencing of Saleh and Mumuni next month show that they had received instructions on how to build a pressure cooker bomb from an English ISIS operative, and that the pair’s targets included the Statue of Liberty and Times Square.

“i [sic] was considering that The statue of liberty has a very weak point in its lower back and its tilting forward, if i can get a few pressure cooker bombs to hit the weak point, i think it will fall face down,” Saleh wrote in his notes, according to the documents.

“Or we can hit times square which would be easier, but if i can get more akhs [brothers], we can perform simultaneous attacks all around NYC.”

Both men were arrested in 2015 and their plot was ultimately foiled. Upon arrest, the pair ran at an unmarked FBI vehicle with knives. Saleh faces up to 56 years in prison at the sentencing that begins on February 8.

A key figure in the plot was Australian jihadi Neil Prakash, one of the country’s most dangerous militants, who remains in Turkish custody. Prakash was involved in the verification of an undercover FBI agent as a member of the extremist group.

 

Read more:  Newsweek

Big Ben and Heathrow Airport were among landmarks targeted by a British man who was "fascinated" by the so-called Islamic State, a court has heard.

Umar Ahmed Haque, 25, from east London, denies preparing acts of terrorism.

He is on trial at the Old Bailey in London alongside three other men, aged between 19 and 27.

Mark Heywood QC, opening the case, said Mr Haque had decided to "carry out one or more violent attacks" in the UK and had "identified methods and targets".

The court heard his other intended targets included the the courts, Transport for London, Shia Muslims, Westfield shopping centres, banks, the City of London, Parliament, the English Defence League or Britain First, foreign embassies and media stations.

Mr Heywood said the defendant was "fascinated" by the "warped and extreme ideology" of the banned Islamic State group, and that after arrest he told police that "he was their loyal follower".

Abuthaher Mamun, 19, is accused of assisting him and Muhammad Abid, 27, is charged with failing to tell the authorities about the alleged plans.

Nadeem Patel, 26, denies conspiring with Mr Haque to possess a firearm or imitation firearm with the intention of causing fear of violence.

 

Source:  BBC News

Somali al Shabaab Islamist militants, who have carried out frequent bombings in the capital, Mogadishu, said a former leader who defected to the government side was an apostate who could be killed.

Al Shabaab fell out with its former spokesman and deputy leader, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, in 2013. He defected to the U.N.-backed government in August last year.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to try to topple Somalia’s central government and rule the Horn of Africa country according to its own interpretation of Islamic law.

“If Mukhtar Robow thinks he can destroy Islamic sharia and the mujahedeen, he is deluded. Allah will protect Islam and Jihad will not stop just because of you and your likes who joined the enemies,” Ali Mohamud Rage, al Shabaab’s spokesman, said in a video posted late on Monday.

It was not immediately possible to reach Robow for comment.

“No doubt, Mukhtar Robow left his religion and joined the disbelievers and the enemies are still the enemies,” al shabaab’s spokesman said.

“Anybody who joins the line of non-Muslims is an apostate who can be killed.”

A report by rights body Human Rights Watch released on Monday said al Shabaab had threatened and abducted civilians in Somalia’s Bay region to force communities to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training in recent months.

“Al Shabaab’s ruthless recruitment campaign is taking rural children from their parents so they can serve this militant armed group,” said Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher for the rights body.

The insurgents, who are allied with al Qaeda, were driven out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011. They have also since lost nearly all other territory they previously controlled after an offensive by Somali government troops and African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeepers.

Al Shabaab, however, remains a formidable threat and has carried out bombings both in Mogadishu and other towns against military and civilian targets.

 

Source:  Reuters

More than 1,800 Pakistani Muslim clerics have issued an Islamic directive, or fatwa, forbidding suicide bombings, a book due to be unveiled by the government on Tuesday says.

Suicide attacks are frequently condemned as fanatical and immoral, especially when civilians are killed, but insurgents view the tactic as their most effective weapon.

Seeking to curb “terrorism” that has resulted in tens of thousands of casualties since the early 2000s, the clerics declared suicide bombings to be forbidden, or “haraam”. “This Fatwa provides a strong base for the stability of a moderate Islamic society,” Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain wrote in the book.

“We can seek guidance from this Fatwa for building a national narrative in order to curb extremism in keeping with the golden principles of Islam.”

Foreign and domestic critics of Pakistan’s government and military accuse them of cozying up to radical groups for political and military purposes and say the state has for too long turned a blind eye to hate preachers in mosques.

Similar fatwas appear to have yielded scant results in the Middle East where the practice is used by ISIS and other militant groups.

The Pakistani scholars, who declared that “no individual or group has the authority to declare and wage jihad (holy war)”, said suicide bombings violate key Islamic teachings and were as such forbidden.

 

Source:  Al Arabiya English

Venezuelan authorities on Monday arrested five members of a “terrorist cell” linked to self-proclaimed rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot Oscar Perez, and killed several other militants during a shootout in a poor area outside Caracas.

Perez appeared with a bloody face in nearly a dozen dramatic Instagram videos early on Monday, saying that he was surrounded by authorities shooting at him with grenade launchers.

State television later read out an official statement that said two police officers were gunned down in the clashes but did not specify Perez’ fate.

A former police pilot, Perez is wanted for using a stolen helicopter to lob grenades and shoot at government buildings in June as well as for breaking into a National Guard unit in December to steal weapons.

President Nicolas Maduro’s leftist government has described him as a “fanatic, extremist terrorist” and a manhunt has been under way for months. Some Maduro critics have questioned whether Perez’ attacks were staged in cahoots with the government to justify a further crackdown on the opposition.

Authorities finally tracked Perez down in the poor hillside neighborhood of El Junquito on Monday.

“We’re wounded ... they’re killing us!” said Perez in one video, seemingly wearing a bulletproof vest as he crouched in what appeared to be a small house. Gunshots were heard in the background.

 

Read more:  Reuters