Despite official statistics showing a decrease in the number of arrests related to Salafist-jihadist activity, EU-based security services have thwarted numerous IED-centered plots since 2003. Many of the EU plots involve al Qaeda-networked terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and included plots in Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom (UK). Two recent plots are representative of the current IED threat in the EU: the Sauerland plot in Germany (2007) and the Barcelona plot in Spain (2008).
(U//LES) FBI Suicide Vest and Belt Use in Middle East, Africa, and Europe Show Minimal Signs of Tactic Migration
The FBI Terrorism Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) assesses the tactics used to construct suicide vest and belt improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Middle Eastern, African, and European regions likely have minimal correlation. Use of these tactics allows suicide bombers to discretely move to a desired target location and make real-time decisions to maximize lethality. The suicide belt design allows the wearer to conceal the device and blend in with their surrounding environment, as well as to position themselves in potentially crowded environments while not raising suspicion.
Since 2013, the country has experienced several waves of Libyan returnees, which also formed the backbone of the newly established ISIL in Libya. In addition, the country continues to attract foreign terrorist fighters in significant numbers from North Africa. While currently concentrated in its stronghold in Sirte, ISIL could seek local alliances to expand its territorial control, also entailing the risk of motivating additional foreign terrorist fighters to join the group in Libya.
The eleventh issue of “Inspire” magazine reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media organization Al-Malahem, released June 1, 2013.
The tenth issue of “Inspire” magazine reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media organization Al-Malahem.
This report is focused on helping US communicators and analysts better identify opportunities to undermine AQ messaging. With this in mind, the report analyzes how AQ portrays itself and its objectives to the public through statements and multimedia releases – the messaging used to attract recruits, build public sympathy, and undermine adversaries such as the United States. Research for this analysis included AQ messaging dating back to 2000, with particular attention paid to recent messaging from 2009-2011. In addition to primary sources and open source research, interviews with 25 SMEs were used to surface master narratives, test hypotheses, and validate assertions. These SMEs were asked a combination of expansive, open-ended questions designed to surface new hypotheses as well as targeted questions designed to verify assertions. Combining these interviews with open source research, this report highlights how each master narrative reflects perceived history, themes, and objectives that are central to AQ’s public identity. Each of these master narratives appear with varied frequency across AQ messaging and propaganda, and collectively they represent a unified narrative system used by AQ and affiliate communicators.
Last month, nearly a dozen photos purporting to show alleged al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed posing serenely inside a detention facility at Guantanamo Bay were posted on a popular Jihadist forum. The photos depict what appears to be Mohammed sitting in a variety of poses in clothing similar to what is worn by detainees at the internment facilities in Guantanamo Bay. Two of the photos also depict other detainees being held at Guantanamo.
The following photos appear to depict Khalid Sheik Mohammed and two other detainees held in the internment facility at Guantanamo Bay. The photos were posted to a Jihadist forum in late May, leading to speculation as to how they were…
A document entitled “Full Expectations” was reportedly authored by Samir Khan, a U.S. citizen who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen last year along with Anwar al-Awlaki. The document details what potential Jihadis should expect and bears a great deal of similarity to Inspire magazine, which was also reportedly authored by Khan. After several new issues of Inspire magazine surfaced online in early May, the following document has also recently appeared online with an acknowledgement of the death of Samir Khan.
The eighth and ninth issues of Inspire magazine reportedly created by Al-Malahem Media Foundation, the media arm of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Issue eight is from September 2011 but was only recently released online. Issue nine is from April 2012.
The Air Force has been secretly flying armed Reaper drones on counterterrorism missions from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethiopia as part of a rapidly expanding U.S.-led proxy war against an al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, U.S. military officials said. The Air Force has invested millions of dollars to upgrade an airfield in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, where it has built a small annex to house a fleet of drones that can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs. The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia, where the United States and its allies in the region have been targeting al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group connected to al-Qaeda.
The Justice Department wrote a secret memorandum authorizing the lethal targeting of Anwar al-Aulaqi, the American-born radical cleric who was killed by a U.S. drone strike Friday, according to administration officials. The document was produced following a review of the legal issues raised by striking a U.S. citizen and involved senior lawyers from across the administration. There was no dissent about the legality of killing Aulaqi, the officials said. “What constitutes due process in this case is a due process in war,” said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss closely held deliberations within the administration. The administration has faced a legal challenge and public criticism for targeting Aulaqi, who was born in New Mexico, because of constitutional protections afforded U.S. citizens. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve, at least internally, a legal debate over whether a president can order the killing of U.S. citizens overseas as a counterterrorism measure.
One of the more interesting aspects of Inspire magazine is its use of a public key encryption system for communication based upon a program called Asrar al-Mujahideen. The fundamentals of using this program are explained in the first issue of Inspire magazine. Throughout the first six issues of the magazine the same four email addresses are listed alongside a public key for use with the Asrar al-Mujahideen program. In the September 2011 issue there is a different public key listed, though the email addresses remain the same. All four email addresses used are associated with free email providers located in the United States. All of the providers log IP information for users of their services and the suggested program used for encryption does not take any steps to hide the sender’s identifying information.
The seventh issue of “Inspire” magazine reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media organization Al-Malahem.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Potential Al-Qaeda Threat to New York City and Washington, DC During 9/11 Anniversary Period
We assess that al-Qa‘ida has likely maintained an interest since at least February 2010 in conducting large attacks in the Homeland timed to coincide with symbolic dates, to include the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We also remain concerned that the May 2011 death of Usama bin Ladin (UBL), coupled with the subsequent removal of several key al-Qa’ida figures, could further contribute to al-Qa’ida’s desire to stage an attack on a symbolic date—such as the 10-year anniversary of 9/11—as a way to avenge UBL’s death and reassert the group’s relevance, although operational readiness likely remains the primary driving factor behind the timing of al-Qa’ida attacks.
Al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates have maintained an interest in obtaining aviation training, particularly on small aircraft, and in recruiting Western individuals for training in Europe or the United States, although we do not have current, credible information or intelligence of an imminent attack being planned against aviation by al-Qa‘ida or its affiliates.
As of February 2010, al-Qa‘ida was allegedly contemplating conducting an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the tenth anniversary of 11 September 2001. As one option, al-Qa‘ida was looking at the possibility of tipping a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge. Al-Qa‘ida noted that an attack from tilting the train would only succeed one time because the tilting would be spotted. Al-Qa‘ida also noted that newer train cars each have their own braking system, and that movement in a specific direction would derail it, but would not cause it to fall off the track.
As authorities have clamped down on traditional financing pipelines, such as charitable front groups, and as terrorist networks have grown increasingly decentralized, terrorists have turned to criminal activities to finance their operations locally. Throughout the world, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah operatives have involved themselves in an array of criminal enterprises, including counterfeiting, drug dealing, cigarette smuggling, credit card fraud, auto theft, kidnapping, extortion, and artifact trafficking. Although criminality is outlawed under Islamic law, the Al Qaeda manual advises that “necessity permits the forbidden.” Reflecting this theory, when Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives questioned whether hacking into foreigners’ bank accounts was acceptable in Islam, JI leader Abu Bakr Bashir reportedly responded, “[if] you can take their blood; then why not take their property?” “Terrorist groups are particularly interested in raising funds through crime because as Lieutenant Colonel David LaRivee, Associate Professor of Economics at the United States Air Force Academy, stated, “many of the agencies responsible for enforcement in these areas do not traditionally focus on counterterrorism nor do they have strong ties with counterterrorist agencies. This means that many indictable criminal activities that support terrorism are overlooked because they seem insignificant when evaluated locally, but are in fact very significant when considered from a broader perspective.” In order to disrupt these financing efforts, “local law enforcement officials will be key,” as the FBI assessed in a May 25, 2005 Intelligence Bulletin.
Mysterious guesthouses have been established in Abottabad’s famous residential area. It has been revealed that Blackwater officials are living there. Important persons regularly visit these guesthouses, and there are fears that the peace and stability in Abottabad may be affected. According to the details received, there are many guesthouses in Abottabad where immoral activities take place at night and meetings in the name of NGOs are arranged during the day. As soon as the night falls, suspicious persons start coming to these guesthouses.
A recent article by the Washington Post is helping to spread the mistaken belief that Inspire magazine’s first issue was attacked by a virus which corrupted most of its content. The article states that while U.S. sources debated how to sabotage or otherwise “attack” the publication of the magazine, which is said to be produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group of British “cyber warriors” took action. The article states that “when Inspire launched on June 30, the magazine’s cover may have promised an ‘exclusive interview’ with Sheik Abu Basir al-Wahishi, a former aide to Osama bin Laden, and instructions on how to ‘Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.’ But pages 4 through 67 of the otherwise slick magazine, including the bomb-making instructions, were garbled as a result of the British cyber-attack.” The article also states that it took almost two weeks for a corrected and complete version of the magazine to emerge.
The Intelligence Community (IC) assesses the death of al-Qa’ida (AQ) leader Usama Bin Laden could result in retaliatory attacks in the Homeland and against U.S. and Western interests overseas. Attacks might originate with AQ Core elements in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, with one of their affiliates overseas, and/or with individuals in the Homeland sympathetic to the cause but lacking a formal group association. We have no indications of advanced AQ Core plotting efforts in the Homeland, but the case of now-detained AQ operative Najibullah Zazi—who, along with two associates, planned to attack New York City subway in 2009 using homemade explosives— demonstrates that unidentified operatives could advance plotting in the Homeland.
I Omar Ossama Binladin and my brothers the lawful children and heirs of the Ossama Binladin (OBL) have noted wide coverage of the news of the death of our father, but we are not convinced on the available evidence in the absence of dead body, photographs, and video evidence that our natural father is dead. Therefore, with this press statement, we seek such conclusive evidence to believe the stories published in relation to 2 May 2011 operation Geronimo as declared by the President of United States Barrack Hussein Obama in his speech that he authorized the said operation and killing of OBL and later confirmed his death.
An Islamist website has accused the United States of releasing a fake tape of an ageing Osama bin Laden watching images of himself on television, and posted a video on YouTube it says offers proof. Shoumoukh al-Islam, the main website that broadcasts Al-Qaeda videos, posted a video comparing an earlier picture of bin Laden and the aired picture. It said the video was a “response to the tape aired by Arab and foreign media on Osama bin Laden watching himself” on television.
Pakistani security officials reacted with skepticism on Sunday to a U.S. assertion that Osama bin Laden was actively engaged in directing his far-flung network from his compound in Abbottabad where he was killed on May 2. Washington said on Saturday that, based on a trove of documents and computer equipment seized in the raid, bin Laden’s hideout north of Islamabad was an “active command and control center” for al Qaeda where he was involved in plotting future attacks on the United States. “It sounds ridiculous,” said a senior intelligence official. “It doesn’t sound like he was running a terror network.”