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Oct 27 12 7:15 PM
Al-Qaida's new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Muslims to kidnap Westerners to exchange for imprisoned jihadists. Ayman Al-Zawahri also urged support for Syria's uprising and called for the implementation of Islamic Shariah law in Egypt. In an undated two-hour videotape posted this week on militant forums, the Egyptian-born jihadist said that abducting nationals of "countries waging wars on Muslims" is the only way to free "our captives, and Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman," the Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence in U.S. prisons for his masterminding of 1993 bombings in New York City.
CAIRO — The leader of al-Qaida has urged Muslims to kidnap Westerners to exchange for imprisoned jihadists, including a blind cleric serving a life sentence in the United States for a 1993 plot to blow up New York City landmarks.
In an undated two-hour videotape posted this week on militant forums, the Egyptian-born jihadist Ayman al-Zawahri also urged support for Syria's uprising and called for the implementation of Islamic Shariah law in Egypt.
He said that abducting nationals of "countries waging wars on Muslims" is the only way to free "our captives, and Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman," the Egyptian cleric.
"This is the only language which they understand," said al-Zawahri, appearing in his customary white turban and robe. "We will keep on seizing more ... until we free our captives."
There was little clue to his whereabouts from the video, shot against a backdrop of brown curtains.
He periodically releases video and audio statements. Two weeks ago, an audio recording by him urged holy war over an amateur anti-Islam film produced in the United States. He released a video on this year's anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, claiming that his warriors "defeated America in Iraq".
Freeing Abdel-Rahman has become a rallying cause for Islamic militants and jihadists. A group named after him has claimed responsibility before for a June assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which caused no casualties. It caused no casualties, but a bigger attack on Sept. 11 claimed lives of four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador in Libya Chris Stevens.
Relatives and supporters of Abdel-Rahman have been holding a sit-in next to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for months. Egypt's new Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, under pressure from leading Egyptian jihadists recently released from prison, vowed to push for his release.
Al-Zawahri appeared to be following Egypt's debates over the country's political future, as he called upon ultraconservative clerics in Egypt to ensure clear mention of Islamic Shariah law in the new constitution. Members of Egypt's Salafi trend have been pushing the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which Morsi hails, to make the role of Shariah explicit. Liberals fear that the Islamist groups will insert language that can be used to curb freedom of expression and the rights of women and minorities.
"Shariah must be the source of legislation ... This must be stated," Zawahri said. "This is the first step to cleanse the constitution and laws in order to implement Islamic Shariah law."
Egypt's old constitution and most drafts of the new one would include some reference to "Shariah" or the "principles" of Shariah, but the exact phrasing could have a major effect on future court rulings on the constitutionality of laws.
Al-Qaida leader also called on Muslims, especially in countries bordering Syria, to support the uprising there.
"I urge Muslims everywhere ... to rise up to support the brothers in Syria ... to get rid of the cancerous criminal regime," he said. "Syrian people have the right to defend themselves with all means."
The transformation of Syria's uprising into an open war has given an opportunity to foreign fighters and extremists to play a larger role in the uprising, analysts say. President Bashar Assad's regime has long blamed foreign "terrorists" for the country's crisis.
Al-Zawahri accused international community of indirectly approving the killing of Syrians.
"The international community ... is giving Assad a license to kill and one chance after the other to curb the Syrian revolution," he said. "They are afraid of a government that seeks victory for Islam and Muslims."
Syria's most Sunni rebels have received support from fellow Sunnis in the Gulf, while Assad's regime, dominated by a Shiite offshoot sect, is allied with Shiite-led Iran.http://news.yahoo.com/al-...esterners-112909722.html
Mar 20 13 11:29 AM
Al Qaeda terrorists today claimed to have beheaded a French hostage in retaliation for his country’s war in Mali.
Foreign Office officials in Paris said they were trying to verify reports of the horrific death of Philippe Verdon, who has been in captivity for the past 14 months.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is waging a terrorist campaign against the French Army in Mali, claims it cut the geologist’s head off on March 10 ‘in response to France’s intervention in Northern Mali.’
Referring to Francois Hollande, a spokesman for the group calling himself Al-Qairawani added: ‘The French President Hollande is responsible for the lives of the other French hostages.’
There are at least 14 French hostages currently held by Al Qaeda in west Africa, including seven by AQIM.
It means that France, which has already lost five soldiers fighting in Mali since the war started in January, is slowly being sucked into an increasingly bloody terrorist war.
Mr Hollande sent a force into Mali specifically to prevent the north of the country from being used as a launch pad for terror attacks in Africa and in the West.
Mr Verdon, who is in his 50s, was captured on November 24 2011 along with Serge Lazarevic, a colleague.
The men, who were on a business trip, were kidnapped from their hotel in Hombori, in the north of Mali.
AQIM claimed that both men were secret agents or mercenaries, and later released a video of Mr Verdon in captivity.
The hostages’ families have expressed growing fears about the men’s safety, especially following the invasion of Mali.
On Monday, Mr Verdon’s father Jean-Pierre Verdon said: ‘We are in a total fog and it is impossible to live this way. We have no information.’
Captured: Mr Verdon has been held captive for 14 months, having been captured on November 24 2011 along with colleague Serge Lazarevic
No information: On Monday, Mr Verdon¿s father Jean-Pierre Verdon said: ¿We are in a total fog and it is impossible to live this way. We have no information¿
The Verdon family were particularly concerned by Mr Hollande’s firm announcement that France would not pay ransoms.
French forces arrived in Mali on January 11 to help the Malian Army against Al-Qaeda fighters who had controlled the north of the country since April 2012.
France now has more than 4,000 troops on the ground in Mali, most carrying out clean-up operations after driving out most of the Islamist rebels from the area.
Senior Al-Qaeda commanders Mokhtar Belmokhtar and Abdelhamid Abou Zeid are believed to have been killed in Mali earlier this month.
A rescue operation ordered by Mr Hollande to free a French secret agent held hostage in Somalia since mid-2009 ended in failure in January after he was killed along with two French soldiers.
Jun 17 13 5:30 PM
Jul 8 13 8:08 PM
The men who launched al Qaeda's English-language magazine may have died in a U.S. missile strike last fall, but "Inspire" magazine lives on without them -- and continues to promote jihadi attacks on Western targets, offering detailed advice on how to start huge forest fires in America with timed explosives and how to build remote-controlled bombs.
Two new issues of "Inspire" magazine have surfaced on jihadi forums, the first since radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and chief Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula propagandist Samir Khan were killed by missiles from a U.S. drone over Yemen on September 30, 2011. The magazines eulogize Awlaki and Khan as the "spirit" and the "tongue" of "Inspire" respectively, but deny that their deaths will stop the magazine or jihad.
The second of the two issues seems to have been prepared after Khan and Awlaki's deaths. "To the disappointment of our enemies," says one of the articles, "issue 9 of Inspire magazine is out against all odds ... The Zionists and the Crusaders thought that the magazine was gone with the martyrdom of Shaykh Anwar and brother Samir. Yet again, they have failed to come to terms with the fact that the Muslim ummah is the most fertile and most generous mother that gives birth to thousands and thousands of the likes of Shaykh Anwar and brother Samir."
The ummah is apparently not giving birth to proofreaders, however, since both issues are riddled with typos, including one on the cover of issue nine, where a headline asks whether the West or al Qaeda is "Wining on the Ground." Issue eight, which includes the last editorial note from Samir Khan, also displays a help-wanted ad, asking for researchers and translators, "sisters' willing to write articles," and "people who can preserve permanent internet links for all of the magazine issues." Popular jihadi web forums have recently been plagued by unknown cyberhackers who have taken some of the sites offline for weeks at a time.
The magazines have also lost some of the snark and American colloquialisms favored by the U.S.-raised Samir Khan, who memorably titled one of his articles urging Western Muslims to wage lone wolf attacks "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." But issue nine carries equally lethal advice, with "It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb," which gives detailed instructions on how to ignite an "ember bomb" in a U.S. forest, recommending Montana because of the rapid population growth in wooded areas.
"In America, there are more houses built in the [countryside] than in the cities," says the writer, who uses the pseudonym The AQ Chef. "It is difficult to choose a better place [than] in the valleys of Montana."
Issue eight has an eight-page article on how to construct remote-controlled explosives, with a laundry list of parts and ingredients and photos showing proper assembly.
In addition, issue eight provides tips on training with a handgun and issue nine provides advice on how to be an urban assassin.
But much of the magazine is taken up by lengthy tributes to Khan and Awlaki, with one writer confirming that Awlaki had survived a near miss from one drone strike before being taken out by a second. According to the article, after his close call, Awlaki said, "This time 11 missiles missed [their] target, but the next time the first rocket may hit it." http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/al-qaeda-calls-massive-forest-fires-montana/story?id=16263981
Oct 13 13 2:10 AM
Photo of Al Qaeda's new leader, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, is seen in this still image taken from a video released on September 12, 2011.
by Myra MacDonald
September 16, 2013
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has issued his first specific guidelines for jihad, urging restraint in attacking other Muslim sects and non-Muslims and in starting conflicts in countries where jihadis might find a safe base to promote their ideas.
The document, published by the SITE monitoring service, provides a rare look at al Qaeda's strategy 12 years after the September 11 attacks on the United States and the nature of its global ambitions from North Africa to the Caucasus to Kashmir.
While al Qaeda's military aim remained to weaken the United States and Israel, Zawahri stressed the importance of "dawa", or missionary work, to spread its ideas.
"As far as targeting the proxies of America is concerned, it differs from place to place. The basic principle is to avoid entering into any conflict with them, except in the countries where confronting them becomes inevitable," he said.
Those comments are particularly relevant for North Africa, where many analysts believe al Qaeda is using the less restrictive environment which followed the 2011 Arab uprisings to seek new followers, often through local alliances, while avoiding drawing attention to itself by eschewing attacks.
"...our struggle is a long one, and jihad is in need of safe bases," Zawahri said in his "general guidelines for jihad" posted on jihadi forums.
Zawahri spelled out where conflict was inevitable, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.
In Pakistan, where intelligence sources believe Zawahri is hiding, he said fighting "aims at creating a safe haven for the mujahideen in Pakistan, which can then be used as a launching pad for the struggle of establishing an Islamic system in Pakistan."
Al Qaeda has a strong support network inside Pakistan - its founder Osama bin Laden lived there until his death in May 2011. It also has close ties to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, with which the Pakistan government has said it will hold peace talks.
Zawahri cited the need to weaken Algeria - which crushed Islamist militants in a civil war in the 1990s - and spread jihadi influence throughout the Maghreb and West Africa.
And in an apparent nod to those who say al Qaeda's focus on the United States weakens their battle against governments at home, he endorsed the right of militants to fight Russians in the Caucasus, Indians in Kashmir and Chinese in Xinjiang.
AVOID ATTACKING OTHER SECTS
Founded in 1988 during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, al Qaeda has adapted to the Western onslaught against it which followed the September 11 attacks by building a network of alliances and affiliates in Muslim countries around the world.
Adept at exploiting conflicts like Afghanistan and Iraq, the Arab uprisings have given al Qaeda a new lease of life - in Syria, for example, fighters loyal to al Qaeda play a powerful role in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
But its indiscriminate violence, including suicide bombings and targeting of Shi'ite Muslims, has made it unpopular among many Muslims.
Zawahri called on his mainly Salafist followers to avoid attacking other Muslim sects, and said if they were attacked, they should limit their response to those involved in fighting.
They should also leave alone Christians, Hindus and Sikhs living in Muslim lands, respect the lives of women and children and refrain from targeting enemies in mosques, markets and gatherings where they mix with Muslims they were not fighting.
But while affiliates subscribe to al Qaeda's ideology, they are largely autonomous in day-to-day operations, making it hard for Zawahri to control the behaviour of their fighters.
"The biggest theme in Zawahri's document is restraint," Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said on Twitter. "This seems to acknowledge the excesses that have tarnished AQ's brand."
The document was posted on Sept 13, according to SITE, although it was unclear when the guidelines were written by Zawahri, whose messages - based on their content - appear to take weeks to be smuggled out from where he is in hiding.
Zawahri, an Egyptian, made no specific reference to Egypt, though he said that "in the environs of Jerusalem, the foremost and primary battle is against the Jews."
He had previously been critical of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood for participating in democracy, and the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi by the Egyptian army has raised fears al Qaeda would exploit this to encourage conflict in Egypt.
However, noting that al Qaeda would cooperate with other Islamic groups on areas of agreement, he said "our differences with other Islamic groups should not distract us from confronting the enemies of Islam..."http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/09/16/security-al-qaeda-jihad-idINDEE98F0CI20130916
Jan 3 14 6:08 PM
3 Jan 2014
Fighters from an Al Qaeda-linked group are believed to have seized partial control of two major Iraqi cities for the first time since the withdrawal of US-led forces.
Around half of the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province have fallen to Sunni militant fighters from the group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Tensions have been running high since Iraqi police broke up an anti-government Sunni protest camp in Ramadi on Monday, leaving at least 13 people dead.
Following the withdrawal of security forces in an attempt to calm the situation, gun battles have raged between the militants of ISIL and Iraqi tribesmen, assisted by police, as the two groups fought to seize the cities.
An interior ministry official said some areas of Fallujah were under the control of militants from ISIL, while other parts were in the hands of tribesmen.
Militants seized weapons caches, freed dozens of prisoners and burned down police stations after chasing out the police and letting looters in.
Fighting broke out on again Thursday, tribal leaders and security officials said, and militants placed snipers on the tops of houses overlooking the highway leading to Ramadi to prevent the army from coming back.
ISIL were officially listed as a terrorist organisation by Attorney-General George Brandis in mid-December.
The group formed in Iraq in April 2013 as a merger between the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Al-Nusra Front, a Syrian jihadist group.
Their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has since defied a call from Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri to reverse the merger.
ISIL have since become a leading force in anti-government attacks in Syria and in August played a leading role in seizing a military air base in Aleppo.
"ISIL is one of the world’s most deadly and active terrorist organisations," Senator Brandis said.
"They conduct frequent and often indiscriminate attacks, including the targeting of public gatherings to maximise casualties."
ISIL are noted for recruiting a large number of foreign fighters, including westerners.
ISIL's successes in Iraq are a direct challenge to the Shia-led Iraqi government and another sign the country is on the brink of civil war.
Former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi says the violence shows Iraq needs the support of the international community.
"Far more important is to get the military from the towns, not to attack the tribes who have been committing themselves, since I was prime minister, against Al Qaeda and against extremism, and to engage with the peaceful demonstrators so at least to quieten things down," he said.
ISIL's latest activities follow a suicide bombing that killed at least 12 people in the country's northeast.
Another 25 people were injured when a vehicle packed with explosives blew up in a marketplace for cars near the town of Balad Ruz.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-03/al-qaeda-linked-group-claim-two-iraqi-cities-after-us-withdrawal/5182998
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