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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: worldwide terrorism threats & domestic extremist threats & trends

The man who became known as the "20th hijacker" from the Sept. 11 attacks wants to testify in lawsuits filed by victims of terrorism.  The imprisoned Zacarias Moussaoui recently wrote to federal courts in New York and Oklahoma, claiming he can offer inside information about the inner workings of al-Qaida to boost legal claims that the government of Saudi Arabia and financial institutions supported terrorism.  Some lawyers have taken him seriously enough to interview him at the Supermax federal prison in Colorado, where he is serving a life sentence. But other observers are skeptical, saying it could be a desperate grab for leniency or relevancy.  "Even if he somehow got to the point where he could testify, there would be a credibility issue," said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. "Would his testimony be valuable? That's doubtful."

The offers are also clouded by his record of changing his account of his involvement in the Sept. 11 plot and his erratic behavior in court.  In court papers filed in Manhattan in September, lawyers for Saudi Arabia said flatly: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had no role in the attacks of September 11, 2001." They also noted that the United States "has said often and vigorously that Saudi Arabia is an important ally in the fight against terrorism."

Read more:  ABC News

The Islamic State beheaded an American Muslim convert and former U.S. Army Ranger who had traveled to Syria on a humanitarian mission, according to a gruesome video released Sunday by the terrorist group.  The death of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, previously known as Peter, came weeks after the terrorist group said it would kill him because of the U.S. bombing campaign in Syria.

“Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family” of Kassig, President Obama said in a statement released Sunday afternoon. “.?.?. We cannot begin to imagine their anguish at this painful time.”“Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity,” Obama said.

The highly choreographed video, which the White House confirmed was authentic, shows a masked militant with a British accent saying: “This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen of your country. Peter, who fought against the Muslims in Iraq while serving as a soldier under the American army, doesn’t have much to say.” 

Read more:  The Washington Post

Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press.

Such an accord could present new difficulties for Washington's strategy against the IS group. While warplanes from a U.S.-led coalition strike militants from the air, the Obama administration has counted on arming "moderate" rebel factions to push them back on the ground. Those rebels, already considered relatively weak and disorganized, would face far stronger opposition if the two heavy-hitting militant groups now are working together.

IS — the group that has seized nearly a third of Syria and Iraq with a campaign of brutality and beheadings this year — and al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, have fought each other bitterly for more than a year to dominate the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad.  The Associated Press reported late last month on signs that the two groups appear to have curtailed their feud with informal local truces. Their new agreement, according to the sources in rebel groups opposed to both IS and Nusra Front, would involve a promise to stop fighting and team up in attacks in some areas of northern Syria.  Cooperation, however, would fall short of unifying the rival groups, and experts believe any pact between the two sides could easily unravel.

Read more:  ABC News

The U.S.-led coalition targeted Islamic State leaders in a weekend airstrike near the militant stronghold of Mosul in northern Iraq, U.S. defense officials said Sunday.  Iraqi and regional media reported that separate coalition strikes on the city of al-Qaim had either wounded or killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, citing a local official in Anbar province where the city is located. U.S. officials said they didn’t know whether Mr. Baghdadi was present at the site the of the strikes. 

Both strikes on Mosul and Al-Qaim, about 250 miles apart, took place on Friday night. The attack near Mosul destroyed a convoy that included 10 armed trucks, a U.S. defense official said. Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in June.

...Falah al-Essawi, an Anbar provincial council member, told Iraqi media that Mr. Baghdadi had been taken to a local hospital in Al Qaim for emergency treatment before Islamic State insurgents spirited him across the border to Syria for further care...Doctors at the hospital didn’t answer their phones on Sunday.

Read more:  Wall Street Journal



Top police officials from New York, London and elsewhere met Thursday to share strategies for combating the homegrown terror threat posed by self-radicalized people who are difficult to thwart because they keep to themselves.  "If the conspiracy to commit a terrorist act is a conspiracy of one, and the planning for that is unsophisticated, doesn't require a lot pre-operational surveillance and is only happening in the mind of the offender, from an intelligence standpoint, from a prevention standpoint, that's very hard to detect," John Miller, head of counterterrorism for the New York Police Department, said following the conference at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan.

Miller's remarks came at a news conference that included New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police Service.  The officials said that they share a concern over the influence of a sophisticated social media outreach campaign by al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and others geared in part toward inciting shootings and other violence by troubled individuals — sometimes referred to as "lone wolves" — without any of the direct indoctrination seen in more ambitious plots.

Read more:  ABC News