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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

Prosecutors can use radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri's own inflammatory words against him during his trial in New York on terrorism-related charges, including praise for Osama bin Laden and for the September 11, 2001, attacks, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.  The decision came two days before opening statements are scheduled to take place in Manhattan federal court.

Lawyers for Abu Hamza had argued that video and audio recordings of Abu Hamza justifying violence against non-Muslims would unfairly taint the jurors' emotions, making it impossible for him to have a fair verdict.  But U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest said most of the tapes can be played for the jury to show Abu Hamza's state of mind and his willingness to provide aid to militant organizations.

Read more:  Reuters

Jury selection has begun in US federal court in New York in the trial of Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical cleric extradited from the UK in 2012. The Egyptian-born preacher denies 11 terrorism charges including providing support to al-Qaeda and trying to set up an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon.

He was extradited from a UK prison, having been jailed for seven years for inciting murder and race hate. It was specified that he must be tried in a civilian court in the US. This stipulation was made by British and European court rulings, after a legal battle which began when the US requested Abu Hamza's extradition in 2004.

Read more: BBC News

A picture of San Francisco International Airport has been prominently placed in a propaganda magazine published by Al Qaeda. Meanwhile, the FBI insists there is no specific threat to the Bay Area.  In the spring issue of the Al Qaeda magazine “Inspire,” a picture of the AirTrain at SFO is featured prominently. The AirTrain connects all the airport terminals with BART, terminal garages and the rental car center.

Below the photo, a caption in Arabic reads, “…stand up, pack your tools of destruction. Assemble your bomb, ready for detonation.”  “The San Francisco area is depicted in this Al Qaeda publication,” said East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell. He raised the issue in a Homeland Security committee hearing Wednesday in Washington.  “What we believe from what senior law enforcement officials have told us is that this is AirTrain from San Francisco’s airport, and that the translation from the Arabic message encourages Al Qaeda members to detonate explosive devices.”

Read more: CBS News (San Francisco)

A Moroccan national was detained without bail in Connecticut after FBI agents discovered his plot to fly bombs on drone-like devices made out of radio-controlled airplanes into a school and a federal building, according to federal authorities.  The FBI arrested 27-year-old El Mehdi Semlali Fahti on Monday on immigration-related charges and he may later face terrorism charges in a federal grand jury investigation, federal prosecutors said. Fahti’s arrest was first reported by the Connecticut Post.

Authorities didn’t disclose the exact locations of the alleged targets, only that Fahti purportedly planned to fly the bombs into an out-of-state school and a federal building in Connecticut, the Post reported.  The FBI said Fahti was secretly recorded by an undercover agent saying he studied the bomb attack operation for months. Authorities say they found wires and tools in his Bridgeport apartment but didn’t say if any explosives were found.

Read more: CBS News

The upcoming terror trial of a radical Muslim cleric is prompting fears of a attack in New York City, a top NYPD official told the New York Daily News.  But while the Police Department is on high alert, Commissioner of Intelligence John Miller told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond that law enforcement officials have no intelligence suggesting an attack is being plotted to coincide with Abu Hamza al-Masri's (real name: Mustafa Kamel Mustafa) trial, which begins April 14 - the start of the Jewish holiday Passover.

Al-Masri is the second of third terror suspects scheduled to be tried in Manhattan. He is being charged in a 1998 attack on tourists in Yemen that killed four people. The Egyptain-born al-Masri is also accused of conspiring with others to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Rebecca Weiner, director of intelligence analysis for the NYPD, told the Daily News the department is "attuned to the possibility that his upcoming trial may inspire more (terror). It is a major priority for us in the next couple of weeks." Al-Masri is a hook-handed cleric with a global following, Miller said.

Read more: CBS News (NY)