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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Mar 14, 2012

An Afghan driver somehow caught fire Wednesday as he crashed a stolen truck as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's plane was landing nearby, officials said.  No one in Panetta's party was hurt, said a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby.  In the bizarre incident, the pickup truck raced at high speed and crashed into a ditch near the ramp where Panetta's plane was going to stop at a British airfield in southern Afghanistan.  Suddenly the driver was enveloped in flames, but the truck did not explode, said Col. Gary Kolb, a U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, countering earlier reports.  The driver was treated for burns.

It was unclear what the driver had in mind, or even if it was a failed attack.  "It's too early to say right now.  It may have been a coincidence," Kolb said.  There were no explosives found either in the vehicle or on the driver, Kolb said.  He said a coalition service member saw the Afghan stealing the truck and tried to stop him, but the man hit the service member with the truck as he drove off. The service member was injured.  Kolb did not say how seriously.

Source: Associated Press

Azerbaijan arrested 22 people on suspicion of plotting attacks on the US and Israeli embassies in Baku on behalf of neighboring Iran, the national security ministry said Wednesday.  "Twenty-two citizens of Azerbaijan have been arrested by the national security ministry for cooperating with the Iranian Sepah," its statement said, referring to the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards.  "On orders of the Sepah they were to commit terrorist acts against the US, Israeli and other Western states' embassies and the embassies' employees," it said.

The ministry said that the suspects were recruited from 1999 onwards and trained in the use of weapons and spy techniques at military camps in Iran to enable them to gather information on foreign embassies, organizations and companies in Azerbaijan and stage attacks.  The arrests come just days after Iran announced it was confident that neighboring Azerbaijan would not allow attacking forces to pass through its territory, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Read more: New York Post

Members of Anonymous have published the contact details for thousands of staff members at arms dealers in an attempt to embarrass the companies, which include BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, over the deaths of Palestinians.  The data dumps on Pastebin appear to include emails addresses for senior staff at BAE, Lockheed and airplane maker Gulfstream Aerospace, a division of General Dynamics.

The release of the data was accompanied by a handful of tweets, using the hashtag #OpFreePalestine.  However, while the intention may have been to embarrass military contractors, the data dumps contained little valuable information – many of the telephone numbers listed were for company headquarters, while several of the names appeared to be out of date.  BAE, Lockheed and General Dynamics had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Read more: V3.co.uk
Two individuals on a federal terrorist watch list were stopped in a vehicle by Laurel police at some point in 2011, then allowed to leave based on directives from officials at the federal Department of Homeland Security, according to Laurel police and information recently released by the city.  Laurel has been linked to al-Qaida cells in the United States before, and the city made national headlines following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when it was reported that some of the hijackers involved in the attacks had stayed in motels in the city and used computers at the Laurel library.

But public acknowledgments of the actions taken by local and federal agencies to track or interact with individuals suspected of being involved in or tied to terrorist activities or cells are relatively rare, and such actions often go unreported.  The vehicle stop in 2011 was no exception, and was never reported or acknowledged publicly until the city released its annual report for 2011 last week.

Read more: Baltimore Sun

An Afghan man linked to the Taliban who was one of the largest heroin traffickers in the world was convicted Tuesday on charges of importing and distributing heroin and for narco-terrorism, federal officials said.  Officials with the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration said Haji Bagcho was convicted by a federal jury in Washington.  They say he manufactured the drug in secret laboratories along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.

According to the Justice Department, he sent heroin to more than 20 countries, including the United States, and proceeds from his heroin trafficking were then used to support high-level members of the Taliban to support their insurgency in Afghanistan.  Beginning in 2005 and continuing for five years, the DEA, in cooperation with Afghan authorities, conducted an investigation of Bagcho’s organization.

Read more: Washington Post