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Terrorism News

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

A group of Afghan policemen were kidnapped on Wednesday while traveling in civilian clothes, and the Taliban later claimed they had killed seven of them.  In a statement emailed to journalists, the militants said that they had killed the policemen in an ambush in the Said Abad District of Wardak Province, and that they found documents on them that showed they were members of the Afghan Civil Order Police, an elite police unit.

Ataullah Lodin, a spokesman for the governor of Wardak Province, said the authorities there had reports that a dozen of the officers had been kidnapped by insurgents.  They had been traveling from southern Afghanistan along Highway 1, the main road to the capital, in order to collect their salaries, and were all in civilian dress, he said.

Afghan police officers often travel to Kabul to get paid and to visit their families, and generally do so in civilian clothes for their safety.

Read more: New York Times

A newly surfaced video appears to show a large meeting of al Qaeda figures in Yemen discussing attacks against the United States, CNN reported Tuesday.  U.S. officials are analyzing the video, CNN reported. It said the CIA and Pentagon either didn't know about the meeting or were unable to target and hit the gathering with a drone strike.  The video first appeared on jihadist websites and attracted the attention of global terrorism experts and U.S. national security officials, the network reported. It said U.S. officials believe the gathering was held recently.

The video shows Nasir al-Wuhayshi, described as the No. 2 leader of the al Qaeda terror organization globally and head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, telling more than 100 followers he wants to attack the United States.  Al-Wuhayshi is shown saying: "We must eliminate the cross. ... The bearer of the cross is America!"

CNN reported that unnamed U.S. officials call the video authentic. CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank called it "an extraordinary video'' and said the al Qaeda leader was taking a big risk by attending such a gathering.

Source:  USA Today

Shortly after ceremonies ended Tuesday to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, two backpacks in the area of the Boylston Street finish line raised concerns of police, who evacuated the neighborhood.  The Boston Police Department called in the bomb squad and performed what is known as a "controlled disruption" of the bags, police department spokesman David Estrada said.

Police arrested a man who is the owner of the bags, Estrada said, although later police reports indicated the man owned only one of the backpacks. Police charged the man with possession of a hoax device, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct.  One of the backpacks held a rice cooker inside, police said.

An officer noticed the man behaving suspiciously and stopped the man, who then dropped his backpack, Police Superintendent Randall Halstead said.

Read More:  USA Today

Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying dozens of people in western Ethiopia near the Sudanese border, killing nine and wounding six others, state-run media said on Wednesday.  There was no claim of responsibility and no group was blamed for the attack, but Ethiopia says it has thwarted several plots in recent years by Ethiopian insurgents as well as Somali al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab Islamist militants.

A handful of rebel groups are waging low-level separatist insurgencies in Ethiopia, while Ethiopian troops are part of an offensive against al Shabaab in neighboring Somalia.  The bus ambush on Tuesday evening - near the $4 billion-Grand Renaissance Dam - was the second attack on public transportation in the Benishangul Gumuz region in five months. Four people were killed by a bomb on a minibus in November.

"The bus was targeted while travelling 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of (regional capital) Assosa," a report on state-owned Ethiopian Television said.  No further details were given, and officials were not immediately available to comment.

Read more:  Reuters

Two radical Muslim clerics have been identified as influential online cheerleaders for fighters seeking to topple the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in a pioneering academic study published on Wednesday. Researchers based at King's College London reveal how social media is being harnessed by a network of radical preachers to inspire and guide British and other western Muslims waging jihad in Syria.

By examining tweets and Facebook postings used by certain rebels, people who follow the conflict from abroad and the two clerics, the academics say they have been able to provide a "unique and unfiltered window into the minds" of western and European foreign fighters in Syria.

The information allowed the analysts to identify a "set of new spiritual authorities" who have the largest followings. The report says they are the American-based cleric Ahmad Musa Jibril and the Australian preacher Musa Cerantonio. Both speak English and are based in the west.

Read more: The Guardian