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‘Dead’ al Qaeda Leader Appears in ‘New’ Video

” ‘Dead’ al Qaeda Leader Appears in ‘New’ Video (ABC News) ‘Dead’ al Qaeda Leader Appears … A new video surfaced online Tuesday featuring al Qaeda commander Abu Yahya al-Libi — the same terrorist that American officials declared dead last week — but the video doesn’t appear to reveal whether it was made before or after his reported death. In the new footage, which was posted in jihadi forums with captions referring to al-Libi in honorific titles generally reserved for the living, al-Libi discusses the ongoing violence in Syria but makes no specific reference to any dates or significant events there. A bloody struggle between Syrian opposition groups and the government has been ongoing for over a year, since well before al-Libi’s reported death. Al-Libi was declared dead by U.S. and Pakistani officials last week following a series of drone strikes in Pakistan. Other al Qaeda leaders have not confirmed nor denied al-Libi’s death, and an analyst with the terrorist tracking group IntelCenter said that it is “not unknown for groups to release videos of key figures that were filmed prior to their death but had not yet been released.” Follow BrianRoss on Twitter Before his death, the U.S. State Department‘s Rewards for Justice program listed a $1 million reward for information leading to Al-Libi’s capture. In 2010, the National Counter-Terrorism Center listed al-Libi as one of al Qaeda’s top commanders and he was described by one U.S. official last week as among al Qaeda’s “most experienced and versatile leaders.” “There is no one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise [al Qaeda] has just lost,” the official said. Al-Libi is among the highest profile al Qaeda members to be killed by U.S. forces since a Navy SEAL raid killed top al Qaeda commander bin Laden in May 2011. He recently emerged as one of the most public faces of al Qaeda, appearing in several training and propaganda videos in the past two years. A letter from al-Libi chastising the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban was found among bin Laden’s documents captured during the U.S. raid. U.S. intelligence officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this report.”

Source: ABC News

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Abu Yahya al-Libi killed in CIA drone attack

“Al Qaeda‘s second-in-command Abu Yahya al-Libi has been killed in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan.

Al-Libi was targetted in a pre-dawn US drone strike in North Waziristan, a Taliban and Al Qaeda stronghold along the Afghan border, on Monday.

American officials are describing al-Libi’s death as the most important blow to Al Qaeda since US special forces troops swooped into Pakistan last year and killed Osama bin Laden.

Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Abu Yahya al-Libi speaking at an undisclosed location. Al-Libi was killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan on June 5.Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader Abu Yahya al-Libi speaking at an undisclosed location. Al-Libi was killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan on June 5.

Target: The successful mission will support the CIA's controversial use of drone strikesTarget: The successful mission will support the CIA’s controversial use of drone strikes

A trusted lieutenant of bin Laden, al-Libi has appeared in countless Al-Qaeda videos and is considered the chief architect of its global propaganda machine.

He was a Libyan citizen and had a $1 million price on his head.

White House spokesman Jay Carney called al-Libi’s death a ‘major blow’ to the group and described him as an operational leader and a ‘general manager’ of al Qaeda.

He said al-Libi had a range of experience that would be hard for al Qaeda to replicate and brought the terror network closer than ever to its ultimate demise.

Carney said: ‘His death is part of the degradation that has been taking place to core al Qaeda during the past several years and that degradation has depleted the ranks to such an extent that there’s no clear successor.’

The announcement comes as U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan entered their third consecutive day, with rockets killing 15 people in the country’s northwest on Monday afternoon.

This attack brought the death toll from drone attacks in Pakistan in the past three days to 27.

The death of Libyan-born al-Libi is being described as the most significant blow to al Qaeda since Osama bin Laden's death last yearThe death of Libyan-born al-Libi is being described as the most significant blow to al Qaeda since Osama bin Laden’s death last year

sdfgProtests: Pakistani men burn mock NATO and US flags during a protest against the U.S. drones attacks in Multan, Pakistan on Monday

Al-Libi would be the latest in the dozen-plus senior commanders removed in the clandestine U.S. war against al-Qaeda since Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden last year.

The White House maintains a list of terrorist targets to be killed or captured, compiled by the military and the CIA and ultimately approved by the president.

Al-Libi’s death would be ‘another reason not to accept Pakistan’s demand for an end to drone wars,’ added Brookings Institute’s Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and adviser to the White House on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy.

Pakistani protesters took to the streets on Monday, shouting anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration in the city of Multan.

They burnt both U.S. and Nato flags as they chanted and their hand-drawn signs had slogans stating ‘America and Nato are war terrorists.”

Source: The Daily Mail UK

#BreakingNews Al Qaeda’s No. 2 in Afghanistan killed in air strike, NATO says

“AL-Qaeda’s second most senior leader in Afghanistan, a key figure in commanding attacks on foreign forces, has been killed in an air strike, NATO has announced.

Sakhr al Taifi, a Saudi, was killed in a precision air strike Sunday in northeastern Kunar Province.

“Sakhr al Taifi, also known as Musthaq and Nasim, was al Qaeda’s second highest leader in Afghanistan, responsible for commanding foreign insurgents, in addition to directing attacks against coalition and Afghan forces,” NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

Taifi traveled frequently between Afghanistan and Pakistan and carried out orders from the terror network’s senior leadership, ISAF said.

He armed insurgents in eastern Afghanistan and also organized the transport of militants into the country.

Taifi was identified along with another al Qaeda terrorist and targeted in an air strike. No Afghan civilians were injured, the force said.”

Source: The News .Com.au Australia

Pakistan restores Twitter after ban over ‘offensive content’

A Pakistani resident browses a newspaper website on Sunday, after the country's government blocked access to Twitter.
A Pakistani resident browses a newspaper website on Sunday, after the country’s government blocked access to Twitter.

By Katie Hunt, for CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pakistan blocks Twitter for much of Sunday over content considered offensive to Muslims
  • Tweets related to Facebook competition to post images of prophet Muhammad
  • Move comes after Facebook was blocked for two weeks in 2010

“(CNN) — Pakistan has restored access to Twitter after blocking the popular social networking site over the posting of content it deemed an affront to Muslims, Pakistan’s telecom authority said Monday.

Mohammed Younis, the authority’s director of public relations, said Twitter was blocked on Sunday morning because of “some material considered to be offensive to the Muslim community,” but access was restored by Sunday evening.

A spokesperson for Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology told CNN that Twitter was blocked because the site did not remove links and references to a competition taking place on Facebook to post images of the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

“The government is in contact with Twitter and had asked them to remove the material. When they didn’t, it was decided that the site would be blocked,” said ministry spokesman Naveed Ahmed.

 

Pakistan blocked Facebook in May 2010 in response to a similar contest that called on people to draw depictions of Mohammed.

The “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” Facebook page offended many Pakistanis as Islam discourages any visual representation of God or prophets like Mohammed.

Younis said it was the IT ministry’s decision to reverse the ban but he could not confirm whether Twitter had removed the tweets deemed offensive.

However, he said Facebook had responded to requests to remove controversial content in Sunday’s case. No-one from the ministry or Twitter was available for comment.

Facebook confirmed that it had restricted access to some content on its site in Pakistan after a request from the authorities.

“While we do not remove this type of content from the site entirely unless it violates our Statement of Rights and responsibilities, out of respect for local laws, traditions and cultures, we may occasionally restrict its visibility in the countries where it is illegal, as we have done in this case,” Facebook said in an emailed statement.

Twitter is hugely popular in Pakistan, with a reported six million account holders, including public figures such as politicians, singers and sports stars. Exiled former president Pervez Musharraf is on Twitter, as is Imran Khan, the cricketer turned politician.

It seemed many users were able to get around Sunday’s outage.

“The fact that despite their ‘Twitter Ban’, we are still tweeting from Pakistan, should tell them how stupid it is to censor internet,” tweeted Marvi Sirmed, a Pakistani columnist and human rights activist with 21,973 followers.”

Source: CNN News

U.S. won’t bargain for release of man held by al Qaeda, officials say

Video released of American captive

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: United States won’t negotiate for American’s release, officials say
  • Warren Weinstein was abducted in Pakistan in August
  • Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility and set out conditions for his release
  • In a video released Sunday, Weinstein says his life is in Obama’s hands

(CNN) — The United States will not bargain with al Qaeda over the life of an American worker filmed making an emotional plea to President Barack Obama to save his life, U.S. officials said Monday.

“We don’t make concessions to terrorists,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said when asked whether the United States would meet the demands contained in a video posted Sunday to several Islamist websites featuring Warren Weinstein.

“My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” said the American captured in August from his home in the Pakistani city of Lahore. “If you accept the demands, I live. If you don’t accept the demands, then I die.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated the point, saying that while the administration’s hearts go out to Weinstein and his family, “we cannot and will not negotiate with al Qaeda.”

Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the al Qaeda terror network, listed eight demands that he said, if met, would result in Weinstein’s release. The demands related to issues in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.

“It is important that you accept these demands and act quickly and don’t delay,” Weinstein said in the video posted Sunday.

Toner said that U.S. officials had not corroborated the video and could not say with certainty that the man in the video is Weinstein.

He said he believes Weinstein is likely being held in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but that the United States has no way to verify it.

The State Department said Monday that U.S. officials, including the FBI, are assisting Pakistani authorities in the investigation.

Toner said Monday that the government is staying in close contact with Weinstein’s family.

In the video, which is less than three minutes long, Weinstein makes references to Obama’s daughters and to his own children; he says he wants to let his wife know he is “fine and well.”

Al Qaeda’s demands include the lifting of the blockade on movement of people and trade between Egypt and Gaza; an end to bombing by the United States and its allies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza; the release of anyone arrested on charges of belonging to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

It also calls for the release of all prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and American secret prisons and the closure of Guantanamo and the other prisons.

The group also wants the release of terrorists convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the release of relatives of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda who was killed last year in Pakistan.

Weinstein was captured after his kidnappers managed to overcome the three security guards who were protecting him.

As the guards prepared for the meal before the Ramadan fast, three men knocked at the front gate and offered food for the meal — a traditional practice among Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, according to the Lahore police.

Once the gate was opened, the three men forced their way in while five others entered the house from the back, tied up the guards and duct-taped their mouths, according to the police.

They pistol-whipped the driver and forced him to take them to Weinstein’s room, where they also hit Weinstein on the head with a pistol and forced him out of the house and into a waiting car, the police said.

A police official said in August that three suspects had been arrested in Weinstein’s kidnapping.

Weinstein was working for J.E. Austin Associates Inc., a consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia.

Source :CNN

Osama Bin Laden: The night he came for dinner

By M Ilyas Khan BBC News, Islamabad

 

Osama Bin Laden

What happens when your surprise dinner guest turns out to be the world’s most wanted man? A year on from the death of Osama Bin Laden, two men tell how they came to host the then leader of al-Qaeda.

Late one night in the summer of 2010, on the fringes of the Waziristan region in north-western Pakistan, half a dozen men of a local tribal family waited nervously for the arrival of a guest whose identity they didn’t know.

They had been alerted to this visit weeks earlier, by someone they describe simply as an “important person”. They were not given any names, and the exact time of the guest’s arrival was conveyed to them just a few hours in advance.

At about 23:00, when the world around them was in deep sleep, they heard the rumble of the approaching vehicles.

“A dozen big four-wheel drive jeeps drove into the compound,” recalls one family elder who agreed to speak to me about it. “They seemed to converge from different directions.”

Death of Bin Laden

White House watches the raid
  • President Obama ordered 2 May 2011 raid on al-Qaeda leader’s compound
  • He and his staff watched via video link as Navy Seals staged their attack
  • Bin Laden buried at sea at undisclosed location 12 hours after being shot in head

One of the 4x4s drove up close to the veranda, and from its back seat emerged a tall and frail-looking man. He wore flowing robes and a white turban.

The waiting men couldn’t believe their eyes. Standing before them was none other than Osama Bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world.

“We were dumb-struck,” says the elder. “He was the last person we’d expected to turn up at our doorstep.”

He stood beside the vehicle for a while, shaking hands. The elder says he kissed Bin Laden’s hand and pressed it against his eyes in a gesture of reverence.

Then, putting his hand lightly on the shoulder of one of his assistants, Bin Laden walked into the room they’d set up for him. The villagers didn’t follow him in. Only a couple of his own men kept him company.

This happened exactly one year before Bin Laden was killed in a secret operation of the US Navy Seals in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, located some 300km (186 miles) to the north-east of this remote tribal compound.

We were dumb-struck – he was the last person we’d expected to turn up at our doorstep”

The shock of his death prompted one of his former hosts to tell close friends about this unexpected visit, which is how I came to know about it.

After some persuasion, I was able to speak to two of the men who’d met Bin Laden on that occasion. Both requested that their names and locality be kept secret.

During the three hours Bin Laden spent with them, they said he offered prayers, rested, and ate the lamb chops, chicken curry and rice they’d prepared for him and his entourage.

All that time, his hosts weren’t allowed to leave the compound, or let anyone in. Armed men took positions at the main gate, along the walls and on the roof.

There was a slight commotion among the guards when one of the hosts requested that his 85-year-old father be allowed to see Bin Laden.

“Consider this to be his dying wish,” he pleaded. The message was passed to Bin Laden, who agreed to see the old patriarch.

Four armed men escorted the son home to fetch his father. The old man was only told about Bin Laden’s presence once they were back inside the compound.

They said the old man spent 10 minutes with Bin Laden, pouring out his admiration and prayers for him, and offering time-tested advice on tribal warfare, all in his native Pashto language, which Bin Laden apparently didn’t understand.

This brought smiles to the faces of Bin Laden’s hosts and his guards, they say.

Bin Laden and his men departed in just the same way as they’d come – their 4x4s leaving the compound in a bustling confusion – and heading out in different directions, giving his hosts little chance to determine which way Bin Laden’s vehicle went.

While my interlocutors were quite open about the details of the visit, they didn’t want to discuss the identity of the “important man” who had asked them to host Bin Laden. They were also reluctant to share information on who else was in the entourage.

Following Bin Laden’s death a year later, both Pakistani and American officials had insisted that the al-Qaeda chief had lived in total seclusion for nearly five years, without once leaving his Abbottabad compound.

That would seem not to be the case. And many questions remain unanswered.

The area where he showed up in 2010 is in the middle of a vast tribal hinterland which was, and to an extent still is, the focus of a number of military operations against militants. Troops stationed there were on high alert and had set up dozens of security checkpoints to monitor commuters along both regular and rarely frequented routes.

‘The most dangerous place on Earth’

Map of Federally Administered Tribal Areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan
  • Region known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is largely mountainous and forms Pakistan’s western-most border with Afghanistan
  • It is semi-autonomous and acts as buffer between the two countries
  • Pakistani military used area as launching pad for Afghan mujahideen during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980s
  • After 9/11, autonomous status of region and tribal way of life began to change, due to influx of Taliban fighters and Pakistani military operations
  • Waziristan region in particular has been a hotbed of Taliban activity and military operations have been ongoing for several years

Profile: Pakistan’s troubled Waziristan region

How did he get past those posts undetected?

The Pakistanis have always denied having any knowledge of his whereabouts or providing any support to Bin Laden.

There’s also the question of who was planning his itinerary, what was the purpose of his visit and, above all, how frequently did he pay midnight visits to unsuspecting hosts?

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