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al-Qaida mastermind has U.S. in his sights

Nigerian Islamist leader threatens US: monitors
Lagos (AFP) July 14, 2010 - A Nigerian Islamist leader believed killed in an uprising nearly a year ago has threatened the United States and paid tribute to Al-Qaeda in Iraq in a new message, a monitoring group said Wednesday. The message attributed to the Islamist sect leader was posted on a website on Sunday -- the same day attacks in Uganda targeting World Cup fans killed dozens, though there was no apparent link between the two. In the message posted on the Ansar al-Mujahideen jihadist forum, Abubakar Shekau, formerly second in command of the sect, mourns slain top Islamic State of Iraq officials, SITE said.

"I send this message of condolence on behalf of my mujahideen brothers in some African territories called Nigeria to the mujahideen general and to the soldiers of Allah in the Islamic State of Iraq in particular," he said in the message. Shekau, believed to have been killed during last year's rebellion in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, warned the United States.

"Infidels, hypocrites and apostates: Do not think jihad is over. Rather jihad has just begun, ...America, die with your fury," he said. Shekau's message comes just weeks before the first anniversary of the uprising his group, Boko Haram, launched in a bid to establish an Islamist state. A picture of Shekau, brandishing a rifle, appeared with the message.

Authorities had thought Shekau was dead, but videos clips of him threatening to avenge the deaths of hundreds of militants killed in the July 2009 clashes with security forces emerged in northern Nigeria in April. At least 700 people, most of them sect members, were killed during the insurrection that was put down by Nigerian security forces in less than a week of fierce street battles. Shekau's message was for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. It was addressed to "leaders of al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups in Algeria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen", said SITE.

Mathematics could be anti-terror tool
Pittsburgh (UPI) Jul 13, 2010 - U.S. researchers say those fighting the war on terrorism may soon have a new weapon to add to their arsenal -- mathematics. Mathematicians and computer scientists have begun to develop equations and algorithms for combing through mountains of data and uncover hidden "rules" that govern terrorism behavior, reported Monday. Each bit and byte of data about cellphone calls, Web-browsing records, e-mail messages, credit card receipts and airline passenger lists could illuminate a terrorist's movements and intentions, researchers say.

"The area has exploded, in terms of the types of techniques and technologies," says computer scientist Kathleen Carley of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "There are huge, rapid advances in this area with, of course, some very interesting challenges," she says. Other researchers are seeking simple mathematical formulas that could describe the optimal arrangement of a secret terrorist cell and provide clues on how to destroy it. "If you have a mathematical model that can describe the structure of a terror network -- and the model works -- then you can predict the future," says Alexander Gutfraind, a mathematician at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
by Staff Writers
Beirut, Lebanon (UPI) Jul 13, 2010
U.S. counter-terrorism authorities have identified a leading Saudi-born al-Qaida operative as a key figure in a September 2009 plot to bomb New York's subway system, an attack that could have matched the carnage of 9/11.

Adnan el Shukrijumah, 34, is a naturalized U.S. citizen but he has a $5 million bounty on his head, a measure of the threat U.S. authorities consider he poses. He is linked directly to al-Qaida's top leadership and the subway plot underlines how they are still striving to pull off another cataclysmic assault on the United States.

Dozens of plots to attack targets in the United States have been thwarted or unraveled since 2001. Most have been do-it-yourself conspiracies by jihadist cells or individuals acting independently of al-Qaida's core leadership holed up in Pakistan.

But some, like the New York subway plot that involved three suicide bombers, clearly have engaged Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants who have long sought to unleash a 9/11-level attack in the United States.

In 2004, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft described Shukrijumah as a "clear and present danger" to the United States.

Abu Zubaydah, identified by U.S. officials as a top al-Qaida commander who was captured in Faisalbad, Pakistan, on March 28, 2002, told his interrogators that Shukrijumah was one of the most likely al-Qaida operatives to attack the United States or Western Europe.

The last successful al-Qaida attack in the West was the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings against London's transport system. Three subway trains and a double-decker bus were hit, killing 52 people.

Shukrijumah, who is believed to be based in Pakistan, was charged on July 7 with directing the failed New York subway plot and involvement in a similar conspiracy to bomb London and Manchester that was foiled by British security authorities in 2009.

He has been high on the U.S. wanted list after he was named by Khaled Sheik Mohammed, al-Qaida's operations chief captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on March 1, 2003.

But the 5-foot-4 jihadist has eluded a global manhunt for eight years. He's a master of disguise who speaks half a dozen languages, including American English with a trace of accent. He is said to carry multiple passports, including Saudi Arabian, Canadian, Guyanese and Trinidadian documents.

He's considered one of the five most dangerous terrorist fugitives, largely because having lived in the United States for years he is able to move around in Western society without arousing suspicion.

For several months in 2003, there was a flurry of reported sightings in Latin America and the Caribbean but U.S. authorities say they believe he went to ground in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt.

However, last summer the CIA said he was traveling around the Middle East using an alias and a Saudi diplomatic passport. Riyadh denied that.

The eldest of five children, Adnan Ghulshair el Shukrijumah was born Aug. 4, 1975, in Medina, Saudi Arabia. His father Gulshair, was a Guyanese and a radical Muslim cleric, his mother Zuhrah was Saudi Arabian.

When Shukrijumah was young, his father was assigned to Trinidad and Tobago as a Muslim missionary. The family moved to Florida in 1985 and in 1996 settled in Miramar, a Fort Lauderdale suburb. Shukrijumah studied computer engineering at Broward Community College.

There he became friends with Jose Padilla, who would achieve notoriety in May 2002 when he was arrested in Chicago for allegedly planning to detonate a radioactive uranium-enriched bomb in 2002. That charge was eventually dropped but Padilla was sentenced to 17 years in 2008 for aiding terrorists.

After 9/11, Shukrijumah came under suspicion because of his links to a Muslim named Imran Farouk Mandhai, who was later convicted of trying to blow up South Florida power plants.

But the FBI apparently had no idea of his real status until they were able to unravel the skein of aliases -- at least six -- that he used.

Abu Zubaydah told his interrogators after being waterboarded in late 2002 of several al-Qaida operations he knew of. One involved "Jaafar al Tayyar," Arabic for "Jaafar the pilot," who he said would deliver an "American Hiroshima" using radioactive bombs.

But it wasn't until Khaled Sheik Mohammed, who had met Shukrijumah in Pakistan, spilled the beans that they realized the fugitive had lived in Florida for 16 years.

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Mogadishu, Somalia (UPI) Jul 12, 2010
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