2008—Azerbaijan—Authorities halted a plot to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Baku, arresting several terrorists, including two Lebanese citizens who were operating under orders from Hizballah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
January 2008—Lebanon—A suspected al Qaeda member was arrested.
January 2008—Yemen—On July 11, 2010, a Yemeni appeals court confirmed the death sentences against four al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the U.S. Embassy in March 2008 and killed two Belgian female tourists in January 2008. They were convicted in 2009. The court upheld fifteen-year sentences for ten other terrorists, including four Syrians and a Saudi, for orchestrating the attacks. 08019901
January 1, 2008—Sudan—John Granville, 33, a USAID employee, and his driver, Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, 40, were shot to death in Khartoum at 4:00 a.m., the day after the African Union–UN force assumed peacekeeping responsibilities in Darfur. Granville was from Buffalo, New York. He was shot five times in the hand, shoulder, and belly, and died on the operating table. He was returning from a New Year’s party hosted by the British Embassy. Sudanese authorities denied it was terrorist-related. On January 4, the previously-unknown Ansar al-Tawhid (Companions of Monotheism) claimed credit. On February 9, Sudanese security forces arrested two suspects. Sudan announced on August 8 that five suspects would stand trial, beginning on August 17. One of the accused was a former Sudanese army officer who had been sacked. On June 24, 2009, a Sudanese court sentenced four Sudanese men to hang for the murders; a fifth was sentenced to two years in prison. Four of the men sentenced to death for Granville’s murder escaped from the national prison through a sewage pipe on June 11, 2010, killing a Sudanese police officer and wounding another. One of the escapees was recaptured and another was killed in Somalia.
On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of State added to its terrorist watch list two of the killers, Abdelbasit Alhaj Alhassan Haj Hamad and Mohamed Makawi Ibrahim Mohamed. State blocked any of their U.S.-based property and froze their assets. Americans were prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. 08010101
January 1, 2008—Burundi—Gunmen killed one French aid worker and wounded another in Ruyigi. The two women in their 30s were volunteers with Action Against Hunger, a French charity. 08010102
January 2, 2008—Algeria—A car bomb exploded as it sped toward the police station in Naciria, killing four people and injuring twenty, including eight police officers.
January 2, 2008—Kosovo—A bomb exploded at the offices of the Serbian Komercijalna Bank in Dragas in southern Kosovo, causing considerable damage but no injuries.
January 4, 2008—Morocco—Fifty Islamists were sentenced to up to twenty-five years for plotting bombings and robberies.
January 4, 2008—Portugal—The thirtieth annual Dakar Rally, a race across the Sahara Desert that was scheduled to start in Lisbon on January 5, was canceled because of terrorist threats by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, an Algerian group. Organizers also cited the recent murder of a French family in Mauritania by al Qaeda-linked terrorists. The race, organized by the France-based Amaury Sport Organization, would have held eight stages in Mauritania, finishing on January 20 in Dakar, Senegal. Circa 550 cars, trucks, and motorcycles were scheduled to compete in the 5,760 mile race, which had previously been called the Paris-Dakar.
January 5, 2008—Somalia—Ten Somali gunmen armed with pistols kidnapped acting Libyan Ambassador Naji Ahmed Subeyr and chief of staff Fatahi Mohammed Mustafa as they shopped in Mogadishu’s Bakara market. They were freed hours later. 08010501
January 6, 2008—Qatar—U.S. al Qaeda member Adam Gadahn said in an Internet video that President Bush should be greeted with bombs and booby-trapped vehicles, not flowers, during his upcoming visit to the Middle East.
January 9, 2008—United States—The Treasury Department, citing Executive Order 13438, announced financial sanctions against a senior Iranian general and three Iraqi exiles based in Iran and Syria for fomenting violence in Iraq.
Iranian Brig. Gen. Ahmed Foruzandeh, leader of the Quds Force (variant Qods Force) operations in Iraq, had allegedly directed assassinations of Iraqis and ordered Iranian intelligence to provoke sectarian violence. Quds is the foreign operations branch of the Revolutionary Guards. He also financed operations by Shi’ite and Sunni extremists against U.S. forces and drove explosives and other war materiel into Iraq for use in suicide bombings. Treasury said he organized training courses for Iraqi militants in Iranian campus.
Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani is a leader of Shi’ite extremists based in Iran. His network includes hundreds of members in several pro–Iranian insurgent groups in the south that specialize in roadside bombs against Americans and sabotage of U.K. forces in the area.
Ismail Hafez al-Lami, alias Abu Dura, a leader of Shi’ite extremists based in Iran, leads a pro–Iranian group that targets Iraqi officials, Sunni leaders, and others. His group was responsible for the kidnap, torture, and murder of Sunnis in Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education in 2006.
Mish’an al-Jaburi, a former member of the Iraqi Parliament, fled to Syria after he embezzled government funds. He supports Iraqi insurgents and owns al-Zawra, a TV station critical of the coalition that has aired al Qaeda recruitment videos. Al-Zawra’s assets were also included in the Treasury announcement.
January 10, 2008—Pakistan—A suicide bomber killed twenty-three and wounded forty-seven others near the Lahore High Court. Most of the casualties were attorneys mustering for a pro-democracy march.
January 11, 2008—United States—Three former leaders of the defunct Care International, a Muslim charity, were convicted in Boston on federal tax and fraud charges for using tax exemptions to hide support for religious militants and overseas terrorists since its creation in 1993. The trio were charged with making false statements, tax code violations, and conspiracy to defraud the government. Convicted on all counts were Emadeddin Muntasser, 43, Care International’s founder, and Muhammed Mubayyid, 42, a former treasurer. Former Care International president Samir al-Monla was convicted on all counts except making a false statement. The group faced ten to nineteen years in prison. The prosecution noted Monla’s meetings with Afghan warlord Gulbadeen Hekmatyar, who had been designated a global terrorist by the State Department. The group had been deemed the successor to the al-Kifah Refugee Center, which allegedly was tied to the bombers of the World Trade Center in February 1993. David Duncan, one of Muntasser’s attorneys, planned to appeal.
January 11, 2008—Nigeria—Militants bombed an oil tanker near Port Harcourt. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta was suspected.
January 12, 2008—Gaza Strip—Following the visit by President Bush to the West Bank earlier in the week, gunmen from the previously unknown Army of Believers, the al Qaeda branch on the land of Palestine, left leaflets at a private American school in Beit Lahiya. The group did not specifically claim credit for smashing windows, burning buses, and looting computers. 08011201
January 14, 2008—Thailand—Muslim rebels were suspected in the ambush of a Thai army patrol that killed all eight soldiers, one of whom was later beheaded. A bomb hidden on the road flipped over their Humvee. The attackers then fired on the trapped soldiers, killing them all in Chanae District of southern Narathiwat Province.
January 14, 2008—Afghanistan—At 6:00 p.m., gunmen attacked the luxury 177-room Serena Hotel in Kabul, throwing grenades and firing assault rifles, killing six people as they chased after Western guests who hid in the gym. Another six people were injured. One terrorist blew himself up; another was shot to death. It was not clear what happened to the other two Taliban terrorists mentioned by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. Among the dead were an American and a Norwegian journalist. The Norwegian Embassy was hosting a meeting at the hotel for Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who was unhurt. The UN secretary general said Stoere was the target of the attack. Afghan officials blamed a Pakistani insurgent and arrested four suspects, including an attacker who wore a police uniform during the assault. 08011401
January 15, 2008—Thailand—A bomb hidden on a motorcycle exploded at a market in Yala Province, killing twenty-seven people. Muslim rebels were suspected.
January 15, 2008—Lebanon—A bomb exploded next to an unmarked U.S. Embassy vehicle, killing two Lebanese and a Syrian citizen and wounding at least twenty passersby, shopkeepers, and office workers, and destroying six cars. The driver of the embassy’s armored SUV was injured as the bomb exploded as the vehicle passed by the blue Honda car bomb on a coastal road north of Beirut in the Bourj Hammoud industrial district. Mathew Clason, a Minnesotan who arrived a fortnight earlier to work at the National Evangelical Church, was among the injured. 08011501
January 15, 2008—Afghanistan—The Taliban said that suicide bombers would attack Kabul restaurants frequented by Westerners.
January 16, 2008—United States—Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Mark Deli Siljander (R–Michigan), 56, who had also served on the U.S. Mission to the UN in 1987, was named in a forty-two-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury in Kansas City for money laundering, conspiracy, and obstructing justice for lying to the FBI about lobbying senators on the Senate Finance Committee on behalf of the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) that sent more than $130,000 to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an al Qaeda and Taliban supporter who had been designated by the U.S. as a global terrorist. The indictment, unsealed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, said the IARA paid him $50,000 in money that had been stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development. He had not been registered as a lobbyist for a decade. The IARA, which had been based in Columbia, Missouri, was named by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2004 as a terrorist financier. Siljander is the founder and chairman of Global Strategies in Great Falls, Virginia, a PR and marketing firm. His book A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide was due to be published by HarperOne in June 2008. Each of the six counts he faced carried twenty-year sentences.
January 18, 2008—Sri Lanka—The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were suspected of having shot to death ten Sinhalese civilians in the south.
January 18, 2008—Yemen—Al Qaeda was suspected of firing on a four-vehicle convoy of tourists in Wadi Daw’an, a desert mountain valley in Hadramawt region, killing two Belgian women and their Yemeni driver and injuring four people. Among the dead was Claudine Van Caille, 65. Survivor Karina Lambert said four gunmen hiding behind a parked pickup truck fired on the group. 08011801
January 18, 2008—United States—The World Bank closed five of its offices throughout Washington, DC, after receipt of three telephoned bomb threats.
January 18, 2008—Pakistan—A suicide bombing at a Shi’ite prayer hall in Peshawar killed nine.
January 19, 2008—Pakistan—Karachi authorities arrested five militants and confiscated explosives that were to be used in suicide bombings against religious commemorations. Police found in the rented house more than 13 pounds of explosives used in suicide vests, 4 pounds of steel ball bearings, 2 pounds of nails, several hand grenades, handguns, a detonator, and cyanide that was to be used to poison drinks at refreshment sites along the Shi’ite mourners’ procession route. Mohammad Aijaz, the group’s leader, had been conducting training courses and taught at a camp in South Waziristan. His four accomplices trained at a camp in the tribal area in 2007.
January 19, 2008—Spain—As part of Operation Cantata, police arrested twelve Pakistanis, an Indian, and a Bangladeshi suspected of plotting an Islamic radical attack in Barcelona. Police raided the Torek Ben Ziad mosque, a nearby Muslim prayer house, a bakery in Raval, and several Barcelona apartments. Interior Minister Alfred Perez Rubalcaba said that they “belonged to a well-organized group that had gone a step beyond radicalization,” as evidenced by police discovery of material for making bombs, four timing devices, a small bag of ball bearings, batteries, and cables. Some authorities said some detainees belonged to the Pakistan-based Tabligh Jamaat. Among the detainees were a Torek Ben Ziad imam and a 70-year-old man. One Pakistani legal resident of Spain, Maroof Ahmed Mirza, is an imam. TVE reported that the group was to attack four Barcelona targets, including a prayer house frequented by supporters of the late former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the Barcelona subway system. ABC News reported on January 25 that authorities in France and other European Union countries were searching for other members of the cell who had traveled from Spain to Waziristan, Pakistan. Spain later said that it had seized only an ounce of explosives, which was probably for training purposes, rather than an imminent attack. Rafqat Ali, 27, a construction worker, and Sheikh Saeed Akhtar, 52, a shop worker, were later released. Police also detained Mohammad Ayud, 63, and Maroof Ahmed Mirza, 38, believed to be ideological leaders of the group. Three would-be Tablighi Jamaat suicide bombers were Mohamed Shoaib, Mehmooh Khalib, and Imran Cheema, who came to Barcelona from Pakistan between October 2007 and mid–January 2008. Other detainees included Mohamed Tarik, Qadeer Malik, Hafeez Ahmed, Roshan Jamal Khan and Shaib Iqbal. The press reported that a French agent, F-1, had infiltrated the group and found that it took orders from Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Taliban Movement of Pakistan that assassinated former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007. The group was planning attacks in Spain, Germany, France, and Portugal, according to the Associated Press.
On November 12, 2009, Madrid began the trial of eleven Islamic militants regarding a plot to conduct a suicide attack on the Barcelona metro. Prosecutors sought eighteen-year jail terms for the ringleaders, Mahroof Ahmed Mirza, who was to choose the place and time for the Barcelona attacks, and Mohammad Ayud Elahi Bibi. They were connected with the now-late Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud of the radical Tehrik-e-Tabligh movement. If Mehsud’s demands following the metro attack were refused, further attacks would have been conducted in Europe. Four defendants showed up in Barcelona shortly before the attacks were to take place; two of them were from Pakistan. The Tehrik-e-Tabligh movement claimed responsibility for the Barcelona plot on its Web site and in a video. Six others faced sixteen years in prison if convicted of membership in a terrorist group and possession of explosives. The rest faced lesser terms for other supporting roles.
On December 15, 2009, the three-judge National Court convicted eleven Islamist militants of membership in a terrorist group, but acquitted them of conspiracy to attack the Barcelona metro system in January 2008. Two were found guilty of possession of explosives; the other nine were acquitted of that charge. The judges ruled that the plot had not advanced far enough to constitute a “specific” conspiracy by the al Qaeda-linked group of ten Pakistanis and an Indian (other reports said nine Pakistanis and two Indians), since the group had not picked a date and place and didn’t possess a sufficient amount of explosives. Authorities said the plotters were going to conduct suicide bombings against the metro, with followup attacks in Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, and the United Kingdom if demands from the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda were unheeded. The group faced eight to fourteen-year prison terms. The defense team included attorney Jacobo Teijelo, who planned to appeal to the Supreme Court. The ringleader was identified as Imam Maroof Ahmed Mirza, 40.
January 20, 2008—Germany—Berlin police arrested four Arab men acting suspiciously near Jewish institutions. Three were soon released. The fourth was held on unrelated charges.
January 26, 2008—Afghanistan—Cyd Mizell, 49, a burqa-clad American female foreign aid worker who was working for the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation, was kidnapped with her driver in Kandahar at 8:00 a.m. while she was being driven to work. She taught English at Kandahar University and embroidery at a local girls’ school. On February 27, her employer said it feared she was dead, although it had no evidence. No group claimed credit, and the Taliban denied involvement. Mizell was from Eureka, California. 08012601
January 26, 2008—Jordan—George Habash, 81, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, died of a heart attack.
January 27, 2008—China—Police foiled terrorist plans by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement separatists when they raided an apartment building in Urumqi city’s Tianshan District in Xinjiang. Two suspects were killed and fifteen others arrested. Police found homemade arms and explosives, terrorism training equipment, and religious materials. The separatist Uighurs planned attacks for February 5, the anniversary of the 1997 Uighur riots against Chinese rule. Chinese authorities added on March 8, 2008, that the terrorists had planned to disrupt the Beijing Olympics.
January 28, 2008—Pakistan—A missile fired by what the news media said was a U.S. Predator drone killed senior al Qaeda field commander Abu Laith al-Libi, 41, who was also a leader in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and other Islamists, including seven Arabs and six Central Asians including Turkmen, at a house in North Waziristan. He had appeared in a video with Ayman al-Zawahiri in November 2007.
January 29, 2008—France—Authorities in Hendaye arrested Ainhoa Adin Jauregui, a Basque Nation and Liberty (ETA) member believed behind attacks in the 1990s that killed three people.
January 29, 2008—United States—At least nineteen addresses of the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles and Orange counties received envelopes containing white powder over several days. Streets were closed and evacuated.
January 31, 2008—United States—A New Haven, Connecticut judge ruled that prosecutors can claim that Hassan Abu-Jihaad, 31, made coded references to terrorist plots. Abu-Jihaad was accused of leaking a document on the location and vulnerabilities of a navy battle group to suspected terrorist supporters in London. The trial was scheduled to begin on February 25, 2008. On February 28, 2008, retired Rear Adm. David Hart, Jr., testified that the navy would have changed plans if it had known that the classified details of the battle group’s movements had been leaked.
February 2008—Pakistan—Terrorists attacked the offices of British aid agency Plan International in Mansehra, killing three Pakistani workers. 08029901
February 1, 2008—Mauritania—Three to six gunmen fired from their car on the Israeli Embassy at 2:20 a.m., injuring four people, including a Mauritanian who lives nearby and three French citizens, outside VIP, a neighboring nightclub. A French woman who works for a non-governmental organization was airlifted for medical treatment in France. The terrorists dropped two firearms and two grenades before fleeing in a gun battle with guards. 08020101
February 1, 2008—Iraq—The U.S. military doubted reports that two female suicide bombers had Down syndrome. However, they had undergone psychiatric treatment before setting off bombs in a pet market on the northeast outskirts of Baghdad that killed nearly one hundred people.
February 3, 2008—Germany—Police found neo–Nazi graffiti (“Hass”—German for “Hate”—and “SS” runes) at the scene of a fire at the Turkish Cultural Center in Ludwigshafen where nine people, including five children, died. The building was home to two Turkish families.
February 4, 2008—Sri Lanka—Tamil Tiger rebels were suspected in the bombing of a bus that killed twelve people 150 miles northeast of Colombo.
February 4, 2008—Worldwide—Millions of people demonstrated against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s atrocities. The demonstrations occurred in Caracas, Washington, Paris, Sydney, New York, and dozens of other cities.
February 4, 2008—Israel—At 10:30 a.m., a Palestinian suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt killed an Israeli woman and injured more than twenty others, including his accomplice, in Dimona, 40 miles from the Gaza Strip. An Israeli officer shot the wounded terrorist five times before he could set off the belt. Abu Walid, spokesman for the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, claimed credit, saying the terrorists lived outside Gaza City and the central Gaza city of Khan Younis. Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, a Hamas group, also claimed credit. One of the terrorists was Loay al-Lahwani. The dead Israeli was later identified as Lyubov Razdolskaya, 73, who worked in the physics department of Ben Gurion University. A retaliatory Israeli air raid killed nine Hamas fighters in Gaza.
February 5, 2008—Somalia—A grenade was thrown into a crowded residential neighborhood in Bossaso, killing twenty-one and wounding one hundred. Most of the casualties in Puntland were believed to be Ethiopians on their way to find work in the Arabian Peninsula, which lies across the Gulf of Aden. 08020501
February 6, 2008—Iraq—The media ran footage from five captured al Qaeda in Iraq videos that showed children, some as young as six years old, learning how to shoot, kidnap, use mortars, attack homes and cars, and murder. The videos were seized in a raid on December 4 in Khan Bani Saad in Diyala Province. A December 8 raid netted a movie script that included children interrogating and executing hostages.
February 7, 2008—Algeria—Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed credit for killing eight paramilitary gendarmes in Draa Aragayen in the desert province of El Oued, 300 miles southeast of Algiers. The group claimed it captured the gendarmes’ weapons, bulletproof vests, and night vision binoculars. The group said, “The operation came as revenge for the killing of our brothers in the recent clashes in the southern region, so the apostates know that they will pay a dear price for every martyr of ours that falls.”
February 8, 2008—Germany—Bernhard Falk, Vice President of the Federal Crime Office, said al Qaeda members based on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border were planning attacks in Germany.
February 10, 2008—Afghanistan—Norway closed its embassy because of terrorist threats from al Qaeda.
February 10, 2008—Iraq—Two CBS News journalists—a Briton and an Iraqi—were kidnapped from their hotel in Basra by twenty armed men wearing security service uniforms. The Iraqi was freed on February 14; the status of the Briton remained unknown. On April 14, 2008, British journalist Richard Butler was freed in an Iraqi Army raid on a house in Basra. He had been on an assignment for 60 Minutes. Butler reported, “The Iraqi army stormed the house and overcame my guards, and they burst through the door. I had my hood on, which I had to have on all the time, and they shouted something at me and I took my hood off. I’m looking forward to a decent meal and getting back to my family and my friends at CBS.” 08021101
February 11, 2008—East Timor—In a drive-by, rebel soldiers shot at the official residence of the president in a 4:30 a.m. attack, hitting 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, 58, in the stomach. Coup attempt leader Maj. Alfred Reinaldo and another rebel were killed by guards who returned fire. A guard also died. Reinaldo had been wanted on murder charges in a 2006 case. He was charged with murder in 2006 but escaped from jail with fifty other inmates. Ramos-Horta was flown to Darwin, Australia, for treatment of his gunshot wounds to the chest, back, and stomach.
Simultaneously, rebels in a car fired at the home of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who was unhurt. Eleven people were questioned in the attacks. Interim President Vicente Guterres declared a state of emergency.
February 11, 2008—Pakistan—Tariq Azizuddin, the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, was reported missing in a northwest frontier province of Pakistan and was believed kidnapped as he was driving back to Kabul from Peshawar. Hours earlier, two Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission maintenance workers and their driver were kidnapped near Mir Ali, less than 100 miles from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Pakistani media said that he had been captured by the Pakistani Taliban, which was demanding the release of Mansour Dadullah. Azizuddin, his driver, and his bodyguard appeared on a video on al-Arabiya television on April 19, 2008, saying that they had been kidnapped. They were shown accompanied by three masked gunmen. He said, “For twenty-seven days, we have lived comfortably…. They take care of us, and they respect us.” Azizuddin, his driver, and his bodyguard were released on May 16 by Tehrik-e-Taliban in North Waziristan. He told the newspaper Dawn that he had been captured by sixteen gunmen who were armed with several weapons, including a suicide bomber’s jacket. He was held in three locations inside the tribal area of Pakistan. Government officials denied Pakistani Taliban leader Mehsud’s claim that they had agreed to free several dozen of his followers.
February 11, 2008—Pakistan—Authorities captured Mansour Dadullah, the Taliban’s leader in southern Afghanistan, who was an associate of Osama bin Laden, in a firefight in Baluchistan.
February 12, 2008—Denmark—Authorities in Arhus arrested a Dane of Moroccan origin and two Tunisians believed planning to assassinate Kurt Westergaard, a Danish Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten newspaper cartoonist who was one of twelve cartoonists who had enraged Muslims in September 2005 with caricatures of Mohammed. The Dane was suspected of violating Danish antiterrorist laws. The Tunisians were to be expelled. The next day, in an Internet re-posting of a video originally dated February 2006, Mohamed Hassan, alias Abu Yehia Libi, an al Qaeda fugitive, called on Muslims to attack Denmark, Norway, and France for running the cartoons. Hassan had escaped with three other terrorists from a U.S. military prison at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2007. Meanwhile, Denmark closed several of its embassies in predominantly Muslim countries, including Indonesia and Pakistan. Protestors attacked other diplomatic missions in Iran and Syria.
February 12, 2008—Syria—Hizballah terrorist leader Imad Mughniyeh was killed in an explosion when a bomb went off in a Mitsubishi Pajero in Damascus. Two other people were injured. Israel denied involvement. He was suspected in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 people, and the June 14, 1985, hijacking of TWA flight 847 in which U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem was shot to death. He was on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. Various groups threatened to retaliate.
February 12, 2008—Somalia—A German employee of the German relief organization Agro Action was kidnapped from his car in Sanag in northern Somalia following a gun battle between his bodyguards and local gunmen. A foreign woman traveling with the German was not kidnapped. Sanag is claimed by Puntland and the breakaway Republic of Somaliland. Somaliland troops freed him a few hours later. Two of the kidnappers were wounded, as was his driver. 08021201
February 13, 2008—United States/Syria—The United States extended financial sanctions against Syria, broadening the number of Syrian officials whose assets can be blocked.
February 13, 2008—Iraq—A woman posing as a journalist with an English-speaking accomplice claimed that they had an interview with a prominent Iraqi tribal leader who works with U.S. forces. She set off a suicide bomb, killing four bodyguards protecting Sheikh Ifan al-Issawi. Her brother had been a suicide bomber in 2004.
February 14, 2008—Philippines—Authorities foiled a plot by al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah militants to assassinate President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during a visit to the country’s premier military academy.
February 15, 2008—Mexico—Organized crime was suspected of setting off a bomb in Mexico City that killed one person and wounded two. The dead man had a hand blown off, suggesting that he was carrying the bomb.
February 15, 2008—Gaza Strip—An explosion in the Bureij refugee camp home of Ayman Atallah al-Fayed killed the senior Islamic Jihad (IJ) activist, along with eight other people, and wounded forty. IJ blamed Israel, although some Palestinians suggested that his arms cache exploded.
February 15, 2008—Gaza Strip—A dozen masked gunmen overpowered two security guards and blew up the eight thousand-volume library of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). A second bomb was defused. The guards were later released. 08021501
February 15, 2008—India—Hundreds of Maoist rebels attacked six police compounds—including four police stations, a training academy, and an armory—in Nayagarh District, killing thirteen police officers and one civilian.
February 16, 2008—Somalia—Islamic insurgents fired mortars at the official residence of Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, 73, who was unharmed.
February 17, 2008—Afghanistan—A bomb exploded in a crowd at a dogfight in Kandahar, killing more than one hundred people.
February 18, 2008—Afghanistan—The Taliban claimed credit for a Toyota Corolla car bomb that exploded in a crowded market in Spin Boldak, Kandahar, 100 yards from the Pakistan border, killing thirty-eight and wounding thirty-one, including three Canadian soldiers.
February 20, 2008—Morocco—Authorities announced the arrest of thirty-two people during the week in a crackdown on a terrorist network linked to al Qaeda that planned to assassinate Cabinet members, army officers, and members of the local Jewish community. Some of the group belonged to al-Badil al-Hadari, an Islamist party whose banning was announced the same day. The group had conducted holdups and sold stolen goods. One member worked with European criminals to steal $25.65 million from an armored truck in Luxembourg in 2000. The group also stole gold jewelry in Belgium, melting it down and selling it via a goldsmith who belonged to the group. The group was led by Abdelkader Belliraj, who was arrested, as was political leader Mostafa Lmounatassime; Abdelhafid Sriti, a correspondent for Hizballah’s al-Manar television; a university professor; and a police superintendent. Belliraj lived in Belgium.
February 22, 2008—United States—At 1:55 p.m., Antoine Lowery, 30, of the District of Columbia, drove a white Chevrolet pickup truck with a snowplow at a high rate of speed off the George Washington Memorial Parkway into a security gate at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was taken into custody after jumping out of the truck and saying, “The truck is going to blow up … I have a bomb.” He also counted down from five to zero several times. No bomb was found. He was released before being charged on February 26. He was rearrested, and on March 6, he appeared at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria on a felony charge of making a bomb threat. U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Poretz ordered him detained pending a hearing. A federal grand jury indicted him on charges of threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer, making a bomb threat, and engaging in unauthorized use of a vehicle. He faced a ten-year sentence, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if convicted. On May 16, he pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat. Sentencing was scheduled for August 8.
February 22, 2008—Tunisia—Al Qaeda in Islamic North Africa claimed credit for kidnapping two Austrian tourists, Wolfgang Ebner, 51, a tax consultant from Hallein, and Andrea Kloiber, 43, his girlfriend. They remained in captivity as of March 11, the date the group released an audiotape to al-Jazeera. Salah Abu Mohammed said the group was avenging Western cooperation with Israel. “We tell Western tourists that at the same time they are flowing into Tunisian lands seeking joy, our brothers are being slain in Gaza by the Jews with the collaboration of the Western states…. The mujahideen have previously warned and alerted them that the apostate Tunisian state cannot and will not be able to protect you, and the hands of the mujahideen can reach you wherever you are on the Tunisian soil.” The tourists began their tour in La Goulette on February 10 and were scheduled to go to the Sahara area. They might have left Tunisia during their trip. As of June 11, they were believed to be in Mali. 08022201
February 27, 2008—Qatar—Ayman al-Zawahiri delivered a ten-minute Internet video eulogy for Abu Laith al-Libi, calling him the “knight who only dismounted from his steed’s back in order to join the blessed caravan of the martyrs.” In the tape, entitled An Elegy to the Martyred Commander Abu Laith al-Libi, he observed that “no chief of ours had died of a natural death, nor has our blood been spilled without a response. Al Qaeda field commander al-Libi died in Pakistan on January 28, 2008, in a missile attack. The Sahab Web posting also promised an interview of al-Zawahiri.
February 27, 2008—United States—Las Vegas police found ricin, an anarchist cookbook opened to a page on ricin, castor beans, a respirator, filters, a painter’s mask, laboratory glassware, syringes, a notebook on ricin production, and firearms—including two semiautomatic pistols, a rifle, and a pistol with a suppressor—in a storage unit and in the Extended Stay America hotel room that had been used two weeks earlier by a man who was hospitalized for more than two weeks in critical condition. FBI agents searched the Riverton, Utah, suburban home where the hospitalized Roger Von Bergendorff, 57, once lived. On March 21, one of the police officers who inspected the hotel room tested positive for ricin. Von Bergendorff’s coma had worn off on March 14. On April 16, he was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with possession of a biological toxin, possession of unregistered firearms, and possession of firearms not identified by serial number. His cousin, Thomas Tholen of Riverton, Utah, had been indicted earlier in April by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Utah, for failing to report production and possession of ricin. Von Bergendorff, an artist, had lived in his cousin’s basement. Prosecutors said that during his FBI interrogation, he admitted that “there have been people who have made him mad over the years and he had thoughts about causing them harm to the point of making some plans. However, he maintained that he never acted on those thoughts or plans.” He told a federal judge that it was “not in my blood” to use the ricin. He faced thirty years in prison and a $750,000 fine. He was ordered to remain in custody until a preliminary hearing on May 2, when he pleaded not guilty to possession of a biological toxin and weapons charges. He was represented by attorney Paul Riddle. His trial was scheduled for June 17. On August 4, the wheelchair-bound defendant pleaded guilty to federal charges of possessing a biological toxin. He faced thirty-seven months in federal prison.
February 28, 2008—Pakistan—A 2:00 a.m. missile strike near Kaloosha village in South Waziristan killed ten suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members and wounded seven others. The destroyed house belonged to Pashtun tribesman Sher Mohammad Malikkheil, alias Sheroo, who had known links with the Islamists. He was a member of the Yargulkhel subtribe of the Wazir tribe.
February 29, 2008—Iraq—Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was abducted in Mosul by gunmen who attacked his car, killing his driver and two guards. His body turned up in a shallow grave a fortnight later. On May 18, the Iraqi Central Criminal Court sentenced to death Ahmed Ali Ahmed, alias Abu Omar, a leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, for the murder.
March 2008—Colombia—Authorities announced on March 7 that earlier in the month, members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia killed one of their commanders, Manuel Jesus Munoz, alias Ivan Rios, in a mountainous, coffee-growing region in north central Colombia. His bodyguard, Pedro Pablo Montoya, shot him, then severed Munoz’s right hand and presented it, his ID card, and a computer to an army column. The United States had offered $5 million for his arrest on drug trafficking charges. The killing took place a week after the killing of Luis Edgar Devia (see March 1, 2008 incident).
March 1, 2008—Ecuador—Colombian troops killed Luis Edgar Devia, 59, alias Raul Reyes, one of the seven members of the Secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in a firefight and air strike near the border with Ecuador. Also killed were sixteen other members of FARC, including Guillermo Torres, a commander and a singer-songwriter, and Franklin Aisalla, an Ecuadoran FARC operative. Ecuadoran troops detained Diana Gonzalez of FARC, who was wounded in the clash.
The next day, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez closed his embassy in Bogota and sent tanks, planes, and ten battalions to the border. Ecuador expelled the Colombian ambassador and also mobilized troops.
Colombia claimed that captured FARC documents and computer files showed that Chavez had paid $300 million to FARC, detailed drug deals, and listed FARC’s efforts to acquire 50 kilograms of uranium. Interpol reported that the government had not tampered with the computer disks. Colombian officials said that they had confiscated more than 210,000 rounds of Venezuelan-made ammunition in FARC camps since 2003. Authorities had seized three laptop computers, two external hard drives, and three USB memory sticks. The hardware contained 610 gigabytes, including 210,888 images, 22,481 Web sites, hundreds of spreadsheets, thousands of video files, 37,872 written documents, and 7,989 e-mail addresses.
March 1, 2008—Algeria—Security forces killed twenty-five members of the Algerian al Qaeda affiliate after they had chased thirty of them who were planting roadside bombs in the Tizi-Ouzou and Bejaie regions.
March 3, 2008—Somalia—At 3:30 a.m., the U.S. Navy fired two missiles at al Qaeda member Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan’s hideout in Dhobley. Reports differed on casualties; the Los Angeles Times said at least six were killed and ten wounded; CNN said three women and three children were killed and twenty people were wounded. The Times also said the target was Hassan Turki, a leader of a Somali Islamist militia who was listed by the U.S. Department of State in 2004 as having links to al Qaeda and running military training camps in Somalia.
March 3, 2008—United States—The ecoterrorist Earth Liberation Front (ELF) was suspected of torching five $2 million luxury homes in the Street of Dreams development in Woodinville, a Seattle suburb. A sign with the letters ELF and “Built green? Nope black!” was found at the scene. There were no injuries but $7 million in damage was reported.
March 4, 2008—United States—MSNBC reported that the Transportation Security Administration’s Mass Transit System Threat Assessment warned local law enforcement officials that terrorists were considering attacking mass transit systems, including passenger rail systems, “because they are accessible to large numbers of the public and are notoriously difficult to secure.”
March 4, 2008—Nigeria—Gunmen attacked a highway construction crew, kidnapping a foreign worker in the south. The gunmen shot a soldier protecting the workers outside Port Harcourt. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta was suspected. 08030401
March 5, 2008—China—At 10:00 a.m., Xia Tao, a man carrying explosives, hijacked a bus with ten Australian tourists in Xi’an, in the northwest Shaanxi Province. He released nine hostages but kept a 48-year-old woman from New South Wales and the group’s Chinese translator. He had demanded free passage on another bus to the airport. He negotiated for three hours before police shot him to death at a toll plaza at the airport. No hostages were harmed. 08030501
March 6, 2008—United States—A bomb exploded at 3:43 a.m. in front of an armed forces recruiting station in Times Square, New York City, breaking windows but causing no injuries. Witnesses saw a man wearing a backpack dismount a bicycle, leave something at the entrance, and pedal away. The low order explosive was contained in a military-style ammunition box. Surveillance video showed the bicyclist showing up at 3:37 a.m. and leaving two minutes later. Police later received a blue 10-speed bike they believed was involved. Before the bombing, anarchist writings and photos of spots around the city, including the recruitment station and the Times Square police station, were found in several bags.
Several Congressional offices, mostly of Democratic members of the House of Representatives, received a letter that contained a photograph of a man standing in front of the pre-bombed recruiting station and a note saying, “We did it. Happy New York.” The letters were more than thirty pages long and had serial numbers suggesting that several hundred had been printed. One letter had a California return address. The FBI said on March 7 that the letters and bomb were not linked. The FBI had interviewed the Los Angeles man who sent the two hundred-plus letters. He was not charged.
Authorities later said the bombing might have been the work of two of four men in a car who fled from a car at a Canada border crossing. Authorities found bags that contained passports of four people, along with the anarchist writings and photographs.
March 6, 2008—Thailand—Police arrested Tajikistan-born Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, 41, the model for Nicholas Cage’s character in Lord of War. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had issued a warrant for his arrest. The United States charged him with conspiracy to smuggle missiles and rocket launchers to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels. The former Soviet Air Force officer was alleged by British intelligence to have provided arms to the Taliban and al Qaeda. The U.S. government added that he made a $50 million profit from his sales to the Taliban. On April 26, 2010, a Thai criminal court dismissed the former KGB major’s claim that his arrest was illegal because of DEA involvement in the bust.
March 6, 2008—Philippines—The government announced the arrest of three suspected Middle Eastern militants who were plotting to bomb the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel. One plotter was arrested in Manila; two others were separately captured in the south. They were believed linked to Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf. One suspect was Jordanian. One suspect was arrested at the Manila airport on February 15. Police said the plot was not linked to another plot to assassinate President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 08030601
March 6, 2008—Israel—At 8:30 p.m. Ala Abu Dehein, 25, a Palestinian bus driver from East Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, walked into west Jerusalem’s Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, a three-story Jewish seminary school, and fired an AK-47 and a pistol, killing eight rabbinical students and wounding another nine. Yitzhak Dadon, a part-time student, claimed he shot him to death, although the police credited an army officer and two undercover policemen. The students were ages 15 to 26. Dehein held an Israeli ID card. He was engaged to be married in the summer of 2008. Police took nine of his relatives into custody for questioning. The 84-year-old institute is an ideological base for the settler movement. Hamas praised the attack, but waffled on whether it was involved. Hizballah said a previously-unknown group named for Imad Mughniyeh claimed credit. Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza celebrated in the streets. 08030602
March 6, 2008—South Africa—Five members of the staff of Mokothedi Mpshe, acting chief of a prosecutor’s office, became ill after handling a poisoned letter sent to the office. He had been heading corruption cases against politicians and government leaders, including African National Congress President Jakob Zuma and national police commissioner Jackie Selebi. Mpshe had not touched the letter. Staffers developed rashes and headaches but returned to work after the weekend.
March 7, 2008—Spain—The Basque Nation and Liberty was suspected in the shooting death of Isafas Carrasco, 42, in the Basque town of Arrasate as he left his home with his wife and daughter. No one claimed credit. The former city councilman was killed two days before the national elections.
March 7, 2008—China—Xinjiang’s governor announced on March 8 that a flight crew prevented an attempt by more than one person to crash China Southern flight CZ6901 from Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Province. The plane left Urumqi at 10:35 a.m. on Friday. The plane made an emergency landing in Lanzhou at 12:40 p.m. No passengers were reported injured. Two passengers were taken into custody. “Inflammable material” was found in the plane’s restroom. Authorities later said that a 19-year-old Uighur woman was detained after trying to set a fire in the airplane’s restroom and crash the flight. 08030701
March 11, 2008—Pakistan—A suicide bomber damaged the Lahore headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency, which handles illegal immigration and smuggling, killing 28 people and injuring more than 170. A second suicide bomber struck a residential section of Lahore, killing another 3.
March 15, 2008—Pakistan—At 8:45 p.m., a bomb exploded at the Luna Caprese, an Italian restaurant in Islamabad that is frequented by foreigners, including Americans and Chinese. Two people were killed, including a Turkish woman, and eleven were wounded, including five Americans who work at the U.S. Embassy, a staff member of the British High Commission (embassy), a Canadian, a Japanese citizen, and three Pakistanis, including a couple dining and a waiter. Two Pakistanis were in critical condition and four Americans were in stable condition. A local al Qaeda affiliate was suspected. The press reported the next day that four of the injured Americans were FBI agents, including the legal attaché, assistant legal attaché, and a supervisor. 08031501
March 18, 2008—Yemen—The United States closed its embassy in Sana’a after three mortar rounds exploded at a nearby girls’ high school at 12:40 p.m. Local authorities said it was a private affair not connected with terrorism, although the State Department said it was “directed against our embassy.” The press said a Yemeni security guard was killed and more than a dozen girls were injured; the Interior Ministry said five soldiers and thirteen school girls were injured, three seriously. An al Qaeda cell led by Hamza al-Dayan was believed responsible. He fled the scene with three accomplices. On March 20, authorities arrested five suspects. Al-Dayan remained at large.
On April 20, 2008, Sana’a authorities arrested Muhammad Yaqout, a member of the Egyptian Jihad group suspected of being connected with terrorists who attack U.S. targets in Sana’a. Authorities said he was behind the two mortar attacks against the U.S. Embassy on March 18 and a residential compound housing U.S. and other Western citizens on April 6. He had been arrested in August 2007 after a suicide car bombing killed eight Spanish tourists in Marib on July 2, 2007. He was released after two months.
In March 2009, Yemen began the trial in a Sana’a courthouse of sixteen suspected al Qaeda members, including fourteen Yemenis and two Syrians, on twenty-three terrorism charges, including the March 2008 mortar attack on the U.S. Embassy that instead hit the neighboring girls’ school, and killings of foreigners, including the January 2008 murder of two female Belgian tourists, attacks on a foreigners’ residential compound in Hadramout Province, and a gun battle with police in which an al Qaeda leader was killed.
On July 11, 2010, a Yemeni appeals court confirmed the death sentences against four al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the U.S. Embassy in March 2008 and killed two Belgian female tourists in January 2008. They were convicted in 2009. They had killed a school guard in a nearby building during the embassy attack. The court upheld fifteen-year sentences for ten other terrorists, including four Syrians and a Saudi, for orchestrating the attacks. 08031801
March 18, 2008—Somalia/United States—The United States designated the al-Shabaab militant wing of the Islamic Courts movement as a foreign terrorist group, calling it al Qaeda’s main link to Somalia.
March 19, 2008—Israel—On April 10, Shin Bet announced that Aham Rial, 21, and Ana Salum, 21, two Palestinians from Nablus, had confessed to plotting to poison food they would serve at the Grill Express restaurant near the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan. They were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Nablus, which also asked them to smuggle a suicide bomber into Israel. The duo were arrested on March 19. They were in the country illegally and lacked work permits.
March 19, 2008—Qatar—In a five-minute audiotape, entitled The Response Is What You See, Not What You Hear, posted on the Internet, Osama bin Laden condemned “those who are wise at the European Union” for supporting the United States in Afghanistan and for permitting publications of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. “You were overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquettes of dispute and morals of fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings. This is the greater and more serious tragedy, and the reckoning for it will be more severe.” Muslims did not mock Jesus, according to bin Laden. “The laws of men which clash with the legislation of Allah the Most High are null and void, aren’t sacred and don’t matter to us.” He said the “crownless king in Riyadh” could have stopped the cartoons’ publication “if it matter to him…. If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.” He also noted that “your publications of these drawings came in the framework of a new crusade in which the Pope of the Vatican has played a large, lengthy role and is a confirmation from you that the war continues.” He said that European leaders were “testing Muslims.” “These savage acts haven’t ended the war, but rather, increase our determination to cling to our right, avenge our people and expel invaders from our country.” “How it saddens us that you target our villages with your bombing: those modest mud villages which have collapsed onto our women and children. You do that intentionally, and I am witness to that. All of this … without right and in conformity with your oppressive ally who, along with his aggressive policies, is about to depart the White House.” “Animosity among people is very old but wise people … have always been keen on maintaining the manners of disagreement and the ethics of fighting … but you have abandoned many of these ethics although you use them as slogans.” But “brutality” further made Muslims determined to “avenge our folk and eject the invaders from our countries.” “The responses will be what you see and not what you hear and let our mothers bereave us if we do not make victorious our messenger of God.” The audio coincided with Muhammad’s birthday, and with the fifth anniversary of the coalition invasion of Iraq.
March 20, 2008—Qatar—In his second audiotape within twenty-four hours, Osama bin Laden observed that “Iraq is the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine,” and that its neighbors should “do their best in supporting their mujahideen brothers in Iraq.” “My speech to you is about the siege of Gaza and the way to liberate it…. The Gaza siege is a direct result of Annapolis,” site of the November 2007 summit of Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He called on Palestinians to ignore its political parties that are “mired in trickery of the blasphemous democracy … Palestine cannot be retaken by negotiations and dialogue, but with fire and iron.” And if a Muslim cannot fight in “the land of al-Quds” (Palestine), then “the nearest field of jihad today to support our people in Palestine is the Iraqi field.” Those living in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia should “help in support of their mujahideen brothers in Iraq, which is the greatest opportunity and the biggest task.”
March 23, 2008—Qatar—Ayman al-Zawahiri released a four-minute, forty-four-second audiotape on Islamist Web sites, calling on Muslims to attack Americans and Israelis to “liberate” Gaza in defense of Palestine.
Muslims, today is your day. Strike the interests of the Jews, the Americans, and all those who participated in the attack on Muslims. Monitor the targets, collect money, prepare the equipment, plan with precision and then—while relying on God—assault, seeking martyrdom and paradise… Let us strike their interests everywhere, just as they gathered against us from everywhere, and let them know that every dollar they spend on the killing of Muslims, and for every bullet they fire at us, a volcano will turn back on them… There will be shed blood instead in return… They cannot expect to support Israel, then live in peace while the Jews are killing our fugitive and besieged people… Today there is no room for he who says that we should only fight the Jews in Palestine… If you let the people of Gaza be killed today, while you shout and demonstrate, tomorrow the event will turn around and the Crusaders and the Jews will kill you instead, and others will do nothing but shout back and demonstrate.
He said Egypt was cooperating with Israel in sanctioning Hamas.
The plot was well-planned against Gaza. The bombs of the Jews are over the heads of its people, the Israeli tanks are aiming at their chests and the Egyptian border guards and security officers are aiming at their backs, preventing any kind of supplies to them, narrowing the routes to their food supplies and medication, preventing help to reach them and prohibiting them from evacuating their injured and protecting their families, locking them down from the south and the west so that the Jews take their full opportunity to kill and imprison whoever they wish and to destroy whatever they want.
He said the Egyptian leader “repeats the same dirty role” as the Lebanese Phalangists. “The roles are the same, even if the faces change—the same betrayal even if the names have changed.” He also complained about the publication of a cartoon insulting the Prophet Muhammad, saying, “They will never be able to insult and make a mockery out of our Prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him.”
March 24, 2008—Egypt—The Global Patriot, a U.S. cargo ship under short term charter for the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, fired on a small Egyptian boat while in the Suez Canal, killing Mohammed Fouad, 27, a father of three. The vessel had been approached by several small boats, who were warned off via a flare. The small boat continued to approach, and two warning shots were fired.
April 2008—Malaysia/Indonesia—In mid–April, Malaysian authorities arrested Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leaders Dr. Agus Purwanto and Abdur Rohim and sent them to Indonesia for their possible roles in fomenting violence in Poso. Abdur Rohim was believed to have replaced Zarkasih as the leader of JI.
April 2008—Nigeria—In mid–April, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta claimed credit for attacking a pipeline operated by a Royal Dutch Shell joint venture that shut down a small amount of oil production. 08049901
April 1, 2008—United States—Officials at Orlando International Airport found pipe bomb making materials in the luggage of Kevin Brown, 32, a Jamaican who had been acting suspiciously near the Virgin Atlantic and Jamaica Airlines ticket counters in Terminal A. He had been scheduled to fly on Air Jamaica flight 80 to Montego Bay. He was held on one count of carrying an incendiary device or explosive onto a plane. His baggage held two galvanized pipes, end caps, two containers of BBs, batteries, two containers of nitromethane, a laptop, and bomb-making literature. He was in the United States legally. At his appearance in federal court in Orlando the next day, his was silent. His attorney said he wanted to show friends how to build explosives the way he learned in Iraq.
April 1, 2008—Turkey—Authorities conducted raids in eight Istanbul districts, arresting forty-five people suspected of al Qaeda involvement and plotting attacks.
April 1, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen kidnapped a Briton and a Kenyan who were working for the India-based Genesys International Corporation, which conducted aerial surveys for the United Nations to prepare maps of the area. The contract workers were kidnapped on the main road between Saakow and Bualle, 200 miles southwest of Mogadishu. 08040101
April 2, 2008—Qatar—In the first of two chat sessions, al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri addressed some of the nine hundred questions that had been posted to him earlier on Islamist Web sites. His responses were posted as a ninety-minute al-Sahab audio on a Web site. These are excerpts:
Talib Jami’i Tib al-Jazaa’ir, an Algerian medical student, noted that the December 11, 2007, suicide attacks on the UN offices in Algiers killed forty-one people, including eighteen employees, including three foreigners, and asked, “I want al-Zawahiri to answer me about those who kill the people in Algeria. What is the legal evidence for killing the innocents?” Another individual asked, “Excuse me, Mr. Zawahiri, but who is it who is killing with Your Excellency’s blessing the innocents in Baghdad, Morocco, and Algeria?” Al-Zawahiri denied their innocence.
Rather, according to the communiqué from the brothers in al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, they are from the Crusader unbelievers and the government troops who defend them…. We haven’t killed the innocents, not in Baghdad, nor in Morocco, nor in Algeria, nor anywhere else…. And if there is any innocent who was killed in the mujahideen’s operations, then it was either unintentional error or out of necessity as in cases of al-Tatarrus [taking human shields by the enemy]…. Rather, the enemies of al Qaeda kill innocents, because the enemy intentionally takes up positions in the midst of the Muslims for them to be human shields for him…. We don’t kill innocents. In fact, we fight those who kill innocent—the Americans, the Jews, the Russians, the French and their agents…. Were we insane killers of innocents as the questioner claims, it would be possible for us to kill thousands of them in the crowded markets.
Al-Zawahiri continued, “The United Nations is an enemy of Islam and Muslims. It is the one which codified and legitimized the setting up of the state of Israel and its taking over of the Muslims’ lands.” The UN had permitted “crusaders” to enter Afghanistan and Iraq, permitted the separation of East Timor from Indonesia, but “it doesn’t recognize that [right] for Chechnya, nor for all the Muslim Caucasus, nor for Kashmir, nor for Ceuta and Melilla, nor for Bosnia.”
“Sheikh Osama bin Laden is healthy and well, by the grace of Allah. The prejudiced ones always try to spread false information about him being ill, but even if Osama bin Laden doesn’t become ill, he must die one day, whereas Allah’s religion will remain until Allah inherits the Earth and everything on it.”
Mudarris Jughrafiya asked, “Why have you, to this day, not carried out any strike in Israel? Or is it easier to kill Muslims in the markets? Maybe it is necessary to take some geography lessons, because your maps only show the Muslim’s states.” Al-Zawahiri responded that al Qaeda had attacked Israeli interests in Tunisia and Kenya, “I expect the jihadi influence to spread after the Americans’ exit from Iraq, and to move towards Jerusalem.” He called for attacks against Israel. “We promise Muslim brothers that we will strive as much as we can to deal blows to the Jews inside Israel and outside it.”
He noted that the Saudi government would soon crumble, because it is “swimming against the tide of history,” as is the government of Egypt, a “corrupt, rotten regime [that] cannot possibly continue.” Riyadh’s “link to the international crusade is doomed…. The jihadist movement in the Peninsula will return, God willing.” “We call the nation in Egypt and other parts to hit crusader and Jewish interests wherever they are to force the invaders to leave Muslim land, and to stop supporting corrupt regimes.” He counseled patience to those who awaited the end of the Egyptian regime, citing the Arabic proverb, “The days will reveal to you what you didn’t know, and news will come to you from those who didn’t have it.” “Severity of repression might delay change but it cannot stop it…. What matters is to prepare for change, being patient, willingness to make sacrifice and seizing opportunities.”
He condemned a prominent Muslim scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
He also criticized Hamas, saying it should not participate in Gaza’s secular government. “I took a gradual approach with them, but they didn’t heed the opinion of their brothers.” He noted that the killing of Israeli children “is not permitted” in rocket attacks.
Muslims should join “open jihad fields such as Somalia, Iraq, Algeria, and Afghanistan…. Be careful about … the major sin of not rising for jihad.”
“The myth of unipolar world is over. The strikes on New York and Washington are identifying marks of this collapse, but empires do not collapse in a minute and could take decades. The collapse of the Soviet Union is the closest example.”
The audio posting was accompanied by a forty-six-page English-language transcript of the session.
April 6, 2008—Yemen—Four explosive projectiles were fired at a housing complex for foreign oil workers in Sana’a’s Haddah neighborhood. No injuries were reported when three rounds went off inside the compound and another exploded outside the building. The U.S. Embassy ordered non-emergency employees to leave the country. Authorities arrested seven people in the case, suggesting they had al Qaeda connections. The little-known Jund al-Yemen Brigades said the attack was to avenge the death of Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah in 2007 in Afghanistan.
On April 20, 2008, Sana’a authorities arrested Muhammad Yaqout, a member of the Egyptian Jihad group suspected of being connected with terrorists who attack U.S. targets in Sana’a. Authorities said he was behind two mortar attacks against the U.S. Embassy on March 18 and a residential compound housing U.S. and other Western citizens on April 6. He had been arrested in August 2007 after a suicide car bombing killed eight Spanish tourists in Marib on July 2, 2007. He was released after two months. 08040601
April 6, 2008—Sri Lanka—Fourteen people, including former Olympic marathoner K. A. Karunaratne, national athletics coach Lakshman de Alwis, and a government minister were killed and ninety others were wounded when a suicide bomber attacked the opening of a marathon outside Colombo. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were suspected.
April 7, 2008—Malaysia—A knife-wielding Bangladeshi man injured several passengers on a GMG Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Dhaka, Bangladesh. The pilot landed at Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok at 10:00 a.m. The attacker and victims were treated for minor injuries.
April 9, 2008—Israel—After setting off a mortar barrage, four gunmen breached the Israel border with Gaza and attacked the Nahal Oz oil distribution center that supplies the fuel for Gaza, killing two civilian workers, including Oleg Lipson. Two of the militants were killed; the other two escaped. Israel blamed Hamas, although the attack was claimed by the Popular Resistance Committee, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah’s al-Muhjahedeen Brigades. The Popular Resistance Committee said the joint operation had been designed to kidnap an Israeli soldier. The next day, Israel suspended fuel shipments.
April 10, 2008—China—The government announced the arrests in March and April of thirty-five people in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region who were planning to set off terrorist bombs in Beijing and Shanghai in May during the Beijing Summer Olympics. Chinese authorities said they had found jihadist propaganda and bomb-making equipment in Xinjiang in January.
April 12, 2008—Iran—An explosion at the Shohada religious center of Rahpouyan Vesal (Followers of the Road to Join Up with God) at 9:00 p.m. during the weekly address by cleric Mohammad Enjavinejad killed nine and injured sixty-six people in the men’s section of the mosque in Shiraz. Individuals posting to the group’s Web site blamed Wahhabis, although investigators were not certain that a bomb was involved.
April 13, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen killed a Briton, two Kenyans, and a Somali in an 11:00 p.m. attack on school grounds in Beledweyne during an attack on the town by Islamic militants. 08041301
April 16, 2008—Spain—Judge Ismael Moreno of the National Court indicted Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, 44; Syria-born Muhamed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, 47; and Bassam Dalati Satut, 48, on suspicion of financing terrorist cells.
April 17, 2008—Spain—Basque Nation and Liberty set off a bomb in Balbao, injuring seven police officers outside a ruling Socialist Party locale. A warning phone call came a few minutes before the 6:00 a.m. explosion.
April 17, 2008—United Kingdom—Bristol authorities conducted two controlled detonations after arresting a 19-year-old on terrorism charges.
April 17, 2008—Qatar—Ayman al-Zawahiri released a sixteen-minute audiotape on the Internet, in which he said that the U.S. occupation of Iraq was a failure that the Bush administration would have to pass on to its successor. “Where the American invasion stands now, after five years, is failure and defeat.” “If the American forces leave, they will lose everything. And if they stay, they will bleed to death.” He said that halting troop withdrawals for forty-five days “is all a silly episode to disguise failure in Iraq and so Bush would avoid making a decision on withdrawing troops—which is considered to be a declaration of crusaders’ defeat in Iraq—and move forward the problem to be the next president’s issue.” He also chastised Sunnis who joined the Americans against the terrorists in Iraq, saying, “Weren’t these Awakening [Councils] supposed to hasten the departure of the American forces, or are these Awakenings in need of someone to defend them and protect them?” He noted, “Iraq nowadays is the most important battlefield on which our mujahideen are waging a war against the forces of the Zionist-Christian Crusade. Therefore, supporting the mujahideen in Iraq and especially the Islamic State of Iraq is a most important duty.” He criticized Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, saying he “has become the laughing stock of the world” and an Iranian “toy.” He complained about Egypt’s “exploitation of Muslims.” “Corruption and stealing have gotten to the point of making people hungry and preventing them from basic food. Making people hungry in Egypt … is a part of the U.S.-Zionist plan … to make Muslims subservient.” He said the Democratic presidential candidates were “trying to deceive their people by saying that they will withdraw their troops from Iraq by talking to Iran.”
April 19, 2008—Israel—Three Hamas suicide bombers set off two car bombs, wounding thirteen Israeli soldiers at the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip at 6:00 a.m. during Passover.
April 19, 2008—Iraq—An individual claiming to be Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, alias Abu Ayyub al-Masri, head of al Qaeda in Iraq, said on an Internet audiotape that the group would launch a month-long offensive against U.S. troops. “We call on our beloved ones … that each unit should present the head of an American as a gift to the charlatan Bush … in addition to one of the apostate servants and slaves of the Awakening (Councils) during a one-month period…. As long as our hearts are together, obeying a leader that we trust … then I swear to God, if America brought all its armies and its men and women to fight us, we will win.”
April 21, 2008—Indonesia—A court sentenced Abu Dujana, military leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, to fifteen years in prison for illegal possession of firearms and explosives and of harboring suspected terrorists. The Arabic speaker was believed involved in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings and other terrorist attacks, including those on the Australian Embassy and J. W. Marriott hotel. He trained in Afghanistan where he met Osama bin Laden. He had been captured in June 2007.
April 21, 2008—Spain—Basque Nation and Liberty phoned in a warning before a bomb damaged the recreation center of the ruling Socialist Party in the Basque town of Elgoibar. No injuries were reported in the 3:25 a.m. explosion.
April 21, 2008—Nigeria—The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said that it had blown up two pipelines it claimed were operated by the Chevron Corporation and a Royal Dutch Shell PLC joint venture in southern Rivers state. MEND asked actor George Clooney and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to mediate. 08042101-02
April 21, 2008—Pakistan—Two UN Food Program workers were kidnapped in the Kyber Agency region. They were rescued by Pakistani authorities in a gun battle in which one paramilitary soldier was killed and seven others were wounded. 08042103
April 22, 2008—Qatar—Ayman al-Zawahiri released a two-hour audiotape on the Internet as the second installment of his answers to some nine hundred questions that had been posted on jihadi Web sites. He called on Muslims to join al Qaeda in Iraq. He claimed al Qaeda was planning attacks on Western targets plus Japan, which helps the “crusader campaign.” Japan helped “under the banner of the crusader coalition … therefore it participated in the crusader campaign against the lands of Islam. Our Islamic faith urged us to resist the injustice and aggression even if they were the most powerful on Earth. Should Japan take a lesson from this? … We think that any country that joined aggression on Muslims must be deterred.”
He alleged that Iran was behind the conspiracy myth that Israel was behind 9/11 saying Tehran and Hizballah were trying to discredit Sunni al Qaeda. He claimed Hizballah’s al-Manar TV started the rumor, observing, “The purpose of this lie is clear … that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it. Iran’s aim here is also clear: to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
He deemed al Qaeda in Iraq, also known as the Islamic Nation of Iraq, “the primary force opposing the crusaders and challenging Iranian ambitions.” He mentioned global warming as reflecting “how criminal, brutal and greedy the Western crusader world is, with America at the top.” Global warming “would make the world more sympathetic to and understanding of the Muslims’ jihad against the aggressor America.”
He said that “there are no women in al Qaeda jihadi group, but the women of the mujahideen are playing a heroic role in taking care of their houses and sons.”
Regarding Afghanistan, he noted, “residents of the provinces and various regions welcome the Taliban and urge them to come to purify their regions of corruption; this is the secret of Taliban quick deployment and gripping control of 95 percent of Afghanistan. The crusaders and their agents in Pakistan and Afghanistan are starting to fall.”
Muslims may not live permanently in the West because they would “have permanent stay there under the laws of the infidels.”
The terrorism research center at West Point reported that 1,868 questions had been submitted.
April 23, 2008—Denmark—The Foreign Ministry closed its embassies in Algeria and Afghanistan after receiving further threats because of newspapers reprinting on February 13 a cartoon viewed by Muslims as demeaning Muhammad.
April 23, 2008—Germany—Some 130 police officers arrested nine citizens, ages 27 to 47, in Berlin, Bonn, and other locations, who were suspected of trying to convert others to radical Islam. The suspects were affiliated with the Multi-Kultur-Haus, an Islamic center in Neu-Ulm in the south that had been shut down in 2005 after authorities found material calling for jihadi suicide attacks in Iraq.
April 24, 2008—Nigeria—The Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta said it had sabotaged a pipeline of Royal Dutch Shell in southern Rivers State. 08042501
April 25, 2008—Israel—A Palestinian gunman shot to death two Israeli guards at a factory on the border of Israel and the West Bank at 7:00 a.m. Hamas was among the groups that claimed credit for the attack at the entrance to the industrial zone of Nitzanei Shalom. The gunmen escaped.
April 26, 2008—Iraq—Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, 29, born in Almadi, Kuwait, set off a suicide bomb in Mosul near a police patrol. His was one of three suicide bombings that day that killed a total of seven people, including two police officers, and wounded twenty-eight others. He had been released from Guantanamo in 2005. He had been flown to Guantanamo from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on January 17, 2002. Numerous pundits noted that the Guantanamo detainees still posed a threat of terrorist recidivism if released.
April 27, 2008—Lebanon—Hizballah detained Karim Pakzad, a French delegate to the Socialist International meeting in Beirut. He was held for a few hours and released. 08042701
April 27, 2008—Afghanistan—Taliban gunmen killed three people, including a member of Parliament, Fazel Rahman Samkanai, and a 10-year-old boy, and wounded eleven when they fired mortars at a reviewing stand at an Afghan National Day celebration in an attempt to assassinate President Hamid Karzai. A second group of Taliban gunmen fired guns into the VIP stands from the third-floor room of a three-story hotel 500 yards from the parade ground. Karzai was unhurt. Among the injured were army officers, police officers, civilians, and parliamentarian Muhammad Daud Zazai. Several suspects were arrested in the attack in front of the Eid Gah Mosque; another two were killed. Among the dead was Nasir Ahmad Latifi, leader of the Qizilbash ethnic minority. Within a day, authorities had detained one hundred people for questioning. At least sixteen Afghans, including eight government employees, admitted involvement, and twenty government employees were suspended.
On April 30, hundreds of Afghan intelligence agents raided a Taliban redoubt in western Kabul. Seven people were killed, including three of the intelligence agents. One of those killed had supplied weapons in the assassination attempt. Among those killed was Homayoun, suspected of directing an attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul in January 2008. He was linked to Jalaladdin Haqqani, who has al Qaeda ties. Six other suspects were detained in separate raids. On May 4, authorities arrested two Afghan government employees for alleged involvement.
On June 26, the Afghan government publicly accused the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of organizing the attack, a charge quickly denied by the Pakistani government. The Afghan government cited confessions of sixteen detainees and cell phone contacts.
May 1, 2008—Somalia—A U.S. air strike at 2:00 a.m. on Dusa Mareb killed Aden Hashi Ayro, an Islamist commander who led al-Shabaab militants and was believed to be the senior al Qaeda leader in Somalia, and another individual. His group had conducted daily attacks on government troops and their Ethiopian allies. In late February, the United States had designated the group a terrorist organization.
May 2, 2008—Yemen—A bomb on a motorcycle exploded in a crowd of worshipers leaving Friday prayers at a mosque, killing eighteen and wounding forty-eight in Saada in a mountainous Shi’ite populated northern border with Saudi Arabia. The area is host to a rebellion by the al-Zaydi sect that began in 2004.
May 5, 2008—Turkey—Peritan Derseem, a spokesman for PEJAK, the Iranian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) threatened to launch suicide attacks against U.S. interests to punish the United States for sharing intelligence with Turkey after Turkey bombed rebel bases on Mount Qandil on the Iran-Iraq border, killing 150 Kurdish rebels. Derseem said only six were killed. She said that although some rebels wanted to conduct suicide attacks, the group’s leadership had yet to approve them. “We have changed our stand toward the United States government and we are standing against them now. Maybe someday … individual combatants might launch suicide attacks inside Iraq and Turkey, and even against American interests.” She said PEJAK was operationally independent of the mainstream PKK.
May 7, 2008—Colombia—Carlos Mario Jimenez, 42, one of the three members of the directorate of the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), who commanded the Central Bolivar Bloc of six thousand rebels who ran a cocaine trafficking operation, was extradited to the United States. A judge had blocked the extradition in April 2008, but the judiciary’s senior administrative panel overruled him on May 6. He was to be charged with cocaine trafficking and financing a terrorist group. He was the first AUC leader to be extradited.
May 13, 2008—Colombia—Bogota announced the extradition of thirteen senior paramilitary leaders of the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia to the United States. They had been accused of ordering the murders of thousands of people, including peasants, leftist politicians, journalists, and union activists. While in Colombian jails, they ran a cocaine trafficking organization. They included Salvatore Mancuso; Rodrigo Tovar, alias Jorge 40; Diego Fernando Murillo, alias Don Berna; Hernan Giraldo; and Ramiro Vanoy.
May 13, 2008—India—Seven bicycle bombs went off within twelve minutes and within 500 yards of each other in Jaipur, killing at least sixty and injuring scores of others. Other bombs were defused. Disgruntled Muslim youths were suspected. The first bomb went off at 7:35 p.m. outside a police station and near a market. A second bomb went off near a sweet shop. One bomb went off outside the Hanuman temple, a Hindu place of worship. Others exploded at a jewelry market and close to the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds).
May 14, 2008—Pakistan—U.S. Predator drones fired Hellfire missiles at two male guesthouses in Damodola, Banjaur, killing al Qaeda operative Abu Suleiman al-Jaziery—an Algerian “high value target”—among several local fighters and foreigners. Authorities believed he was planning attacks outside Pakistan. The death toll ranged from eleven to thirty. Faqir Mohammed, deputy leader of Pakistan’s Taliban movement, vowed revenge.
May 14, 2008—France—A judge convicted five Frenchmen, a Moroccan, and an Algerian on terrorism charges of “criminal association with a terrorist enterprise” for sending a dozen French fighters to training camps for al Qaeda in Iraq. Sentences ranged from eighteen months to seven years. Three defendants were released for time served. Each confessed to traveling to Iraq. They had faced ten-year sentences. Farid Benyettou, 27, the group’s leader, was sentenced to six years for providing weapons, training, and travel through Syria to Iraq for young men he had recruited via religious teaching. He was a former janitor turned street preacher. Boubakeur el-Hakim, whose brother was killed in Iraq, received seven years.
May 14, 2008—Iraq—At 6:00 p.m. a 12-year-old suicide bomber killed twenty-three people and injured twenty-five in an attack against relatives of Col. Faisal Ismail al-Zobaie, Fallujah’s police chief and repentant insurgent, during the funeral for al-Zobaie’s uncle, a school principal. The uncle was murdered when insurgents demanded to know whether he was al-Zobaie’s uncle. Abu al-Laith al-Jubori, spokesman for al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed credit for the funeral attack in the Zobaa area west of Baghdad.
May 15, 2008—Iraq—At 5:00 p.m., gunmen fired on a car carrying three Iranian Embassy staffers on their way to visit the Kadhimiya Shi’ite shrine in northwestern Baghdad, wounding them and their local driver. Two of the victims were seriously wounded. 08051501
May 16, 2008—Qatar—In the span of three days, Osama bin Laden released onto a jihadi Web site a ten-minute audiotape and a twenty-two-minute audiotape, accompanied by a stock photo of him in a white robe and turban next to a photo of the al-Aqsa mosque. One tape, entitled The Causes of Conflict on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the State of Israeli Occupation, coincided with the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. “The participation of Western leaders with the Jews in this celebration confirms that the West backs this Jewish occupation of our land, and that they stand in the Israeli corner against us.” He observed that “we will continue, God permitting, our struggle against the Israelis and their allies. We are not going to give up an inch of the land of Palestine as long as there is one true Muslim on Earth.” “This is evidence that Palestine is our land, and the Israelis are invaders and occupiers who should be fought.” “To Western nations … this speech is to understand the core reason of the war between our civilization and your civilizations. I mean the Palestinian cause.” “The Palestinian cause is the major issue for my (Islamic) nation. It was an important element in fueling me from the beginning and the nineteen others [presumably the 9/11 hijackers] with a great motive to fight for those subjected to injustice and the oppressed.” He said the Western media was “portraying the Jewish invaders, the occupiers of our land, as the victims, while it portrayed us as the terrorists. Sixty years ago, the Israeli state didn’t exist. Instead, it was established on the land of Palestine raped by force. Israelis are occupying invaders whom we should fight.” “Peace talks that started sixty years ago are just meant to deceive the idiots. After all the destruction and the killings … your leaders talk about principles. This is unbearable.”
Mentioning former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, he suggested that “instead of punishing him over his crimes … he was awarded a Nobel Prize.” He criticized leaders who achieved power “either by a military coup or with backing from foreign forces. Those kings and leaders sacrificed Palestine and al-Aqsa to keep their crowns.” He said these leaders were “wolves” and “agents of the crusaders.” “Every day, the herd wishes the wolves would stop preying on it.” “They have decided that peace with the Zionists is their strategic option so damn their decision.” “Even if all the leaders have sacrificed the Palestinian issue in its entirety, we are not relieved of the responsibility…. Each one of us is responsible for the death of our vulnerable people in Gaza where scores have died because of the blockade.” Egyptian militants should end the blockade of Gaza: “They are the only ones close to its borders, and they must work on breaking this siege.” Arab leaders have not fought “even a single serious war to get Palestine back.” He said Hassan Nasrallah, Hizballah’s leader, had not tried hard enough. “The truth is the opposite. If he was honest and has enough (resources), why then he did not support the fight to liberate Palestine.” He also complained about Nasrallah acquiescing to UN deployment of peacekeepers in Lebanon “to protect the Jews.” “In our time now, the real terrorism and armed robbery is done by the leader of the strongest military power humanity has ever known.”
May 18, 2008—Pakistan—A Taliban suicide bomber killed eleven and wounded twenty-two outside a bakery near the gate of the Punjab Regimental Center, a Northwest Frontier Province army base in Mardan city. Four soldiers guarding the base were among the dead. The attack took place during peace negotiations between the new government and the Taliban. Authorities believed the attack was conducted by a local Taliban splinter faction.
May 18, 2008—Colombia—Nelly Avila Moreno, alias Karina, 45, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s most prominent female military commander, ended twenty-four years with the rebels by surrendering with her lover to the authorities. She had lost an eye in combat.
May 20, 2008—France—Police in Bordeaux detained Basque Nation and Liberty (ETA) political and military leader Javier Lopez Pena, 49, and three other ETA members: Ainhoa Ozaeta Mendiondo (she allegedly read the group’s March 2006 cease-fire declaration); Jon Salaberria, a former regional legislator for ETA’s Batasuna political wing; and Igor Suberbiola, a member of ETA’s youth wing. Lopez had been the object of a twenty-five-year manhunt. He was believed behind the decision to end the ETA cease-fire by bombing an airport parking garage in Madrid in December 2006 that killed two people. Police had followed an ETA lawyer to the hideout, where they confiscated four handguns, a computer, and bomb-making materials.
May 21, 2008—Spain/France—Authorities arrested two more Basque Nation and Liberty (ETA) members: Jose Antonio Barandiaran, former mayor of Andoain in the Spanish Basque region, and a French national who had rented the Bordeaux apartment to the ETA members.
May 21, 2008—Morocco—Police in Fez and Nador arrested eleven members of an al Qaeda network sending fighters to Iraq. They were also sending them to terrorist training camps run by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Authorities said they were connected to a group involved with a network in Belgium that had been broken up in February. Authorities were unaware of plans for a terrorist attack in Belgium.
May 22, 2008—United Kingdom—Police arrested Nicky Reilly, 22, a “radicalized” Muslim convert from Plymouth, England, for trying to set off a bomb in the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter just before noon. He was believed to be a mentally ill, “introverted loner” who had been manipulated by radicals. He had changed his name to Mohammed Rasheed in 2007. He sustained cuts to his eye and face after his bomb exploded. Two other unexploded devices were found near the restaurant. No one else was injured. He had spent time in a mental hospital and had the mental age of a 10-year-old. He was believed to suffer from schizophrenia and Asperger’s syndrome. He made three bombs from caustic soda, paraffin, and nails in a tin box. Before the attempted bombing, he received a text message of encouragement. Police arrested two men at gunpoint outside an open-air café in Plymouth on May 23. On October 15, 2008, Reilly, listed as Mohammed Saeed-Alim, pleaded guilty via video link from prison to London’s Central Criminal Court. Sentencing was scheduled for later.
May 26, 2008—Sri Lanka—A parcel bomb hidden in the luggage rack of a crowded commuter train in Panadura, 17 miles from Colombo, killed seven and wounded eighty-four others when it went off at 5:30 p.m. Many were office workers in evening rush hour. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was suspected.
May 26, 2008—Nigeria—The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta claimed that it had “successfully sabotaged another major trunk pipeline” of the Shell Petroleum Development Company in Rivers State. “Minutes after the sabotage, our fighters encountered a military gunboat which opened fire blindly on the advance guard. We flanked them in a counter-attack and killed in close combat all the drunken soldiers numbering eleven, collecting their weapons, ammunitions, and bulletproof vests before using dynamite to sink the gunboat with its dead occupants.” The government denied that its soldiers had been killed. 08052601
May 27, 2008—United States—The United States imposed financial sanctions against the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), blocked its assets, and prohibited Americans from doing business with four leaders of the group: Muhammad Saeed, the group’s leader; Zaku-ur-Rehman Lakhi, chief of operations; Haji Muhammad Ashraf, chief of finance; and Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a main financier.
May 28, 2008—Nepal—The royalist Ranab Sena set off a bomb in Katmandu that injured six.
May 29, 2008—Nepal—Suspeced royalists set off three bombs in Katmandu, causing no injuries.
May 30, 2008—Philippines—A cell phone–detonated bomb exploded outside Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga, killing a man and a woman and wounding nineteen. The bomb damaged three cars and a lawmaker’s office; two of his employees were wounded, including Voltaire Mahatol. Four Filipino employees of AMORE, a private group implementing USAID-funded community power projects, were wounded. The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group was suspected in attacking commuters waiting to hitch a ride on a C-130 cargo plane.
June 1, 2008—Somalia—Al-Shaabab militiamen were suspected of firing mortars at the plane carrying Somali transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as it was taking off from Mogadishu Airport at 11:00 a.m. No one was injured. The group is a splinter of the Islamic Courts Union.
June 1, 2008—Iraq—A suicide bomber set off an explosion at a police checkpoint in Hit that killed nine people. Authorities on June 8 dismantled the group behind the attack, seizing fifty explosive belts. The first to confess was a Palestinian; other foreigners were also involved. The U.S. Army said it made forty-nine arrests following the attack.
June 2, 2008—Pakistan—A white Toyota Corolla with fake diplomatic license plates exploded in front of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, killing four to eight people, including two policemen and a Pakistani cleaner at the Embassy and wounding twenty-four to thirty-five, all Pakistanis, including a handyman and two office workers. Other reports said that one foreign national and a child died and that among the wounded was a Brazilian citizen of Pakistani descent. Western diplomats said one of the dead had dual Pakistani-Danish citizenship. Among the dead was a security guard working at the neighboring UN Development Program building. The 1:00 p.m. blast damaged the residences of the Dutch ambassador and the Australian defense attaché, located near the Danish Embassy, as well as the UN-funded Devolution Trust for Community Empowerment, a local development organization. Anjum Masood, field operations manager for the Trust, was wounded, as was Anwar Butt, a manager with the UN Development Program. Twenty cars were destroyed. Norway and Sweden closed their embassies. It was not clear initially whether it was a suicide bomb, timebomb, or a remotely-detonated device, although authorities later settled on it being a suicide bomb.
Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Afghanistan-based operative for al Qaeda, later claimed credit on the Internet for the 44-pound bomb; the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) confirmed that al Qaeda or an affiliate were the main suspects. The claimant warned that more attacks would come if Denmark did not apologize for publishing what were deemed anti–Muhammad cartoons. He said this attack would “only be the first drop of rain.” Al-Yazid said the attack was “revenge against the infidel government” for “degrading drawings of the prophet.” He cited a recent bin Laden audio recording in which he said that “if there is no check on your freedom of words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.”
On September 25, 2010, a Pakistani court acquitted three men of involvement in the bombing, saying there was insufficient evidence against them. 08060201
June 4, 2008—Qatar—Ayman al-Zawahiri released an eleven-minute video on the Internet, marking the anniversary of the June 1967 Six Day War, usually referred to in Arabic as naksa (the setback). In a tape entitled In Memory of the Naksa: Break the Siege of Gaza, he called on Muslims to conduct holy war to break the Israeli economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying, “Salvation of the Muslim nation is through the march of its sons on the path of jihad…. The sons of the nation should break the shackles of the treacherous regimes and move to wage jihad, which has become a duty…. Step up your martyrdom-seeking operations and increase your missiles and ambushes, as there is no solution but this.” He accused Arab regimes of responsibility for the 1967 defeat, saying they were “impotent and unable to protect the Muslim nation, its sanctuaries and its wealth.” The war “unveiled that [Arab] regimes had no principles … except holding to their seats (of power).” He said Egyptian leaders were “criminal traitors” and said, “The brother from Gaza is refused entry [by Egypt], while an Israeli tourist is allowed to enter without a visa…. You have the right to enter Egypt whenever you like and destroy the treacherous siege. Those who confront you should not blame anyone but themselves.” The video showed al-Zawahiri’s picture next to that of a man holding an injured infant.
June 4, 2008—Sri Lanka—An explosive went off on a train track, injuring twenty-three commuters on a train going from Panadura to Colombo.
June 4, 2008—Algeria—Bombs went off at a military barracks and at a café in a beach neighborhood of Algiers, wounding six people.
June 5, 2008—Pakistan—Police raided an Islamist militant safe house in Nowshera. In the subsequent gunfight, a police driver and a militant were injured. Several militants fled.
June 5, 2008—Pakistan—Police in Rawalpindi arrested six Islamists, including three would-be suicide bombers, and confiscated 2,200 pounds of explosives from three vehicles—two Toyota Land Cruisers and a Toyota Corolla. The group planned on attacking “sensitive installations,” including the Rawalpindi office of President Pervez Musharraf. The Land Cruisers were each carrying 1,100 pounds of explosives.
June 5, 2008—Algeria—A roadside bomb killed six soldiers in Boumerdes.
June 6, 2008—Sri Lanka—A remotely-detonated bomb exploded on a bus in Moratuwa, a southern suburb of Colombo, killing twenty-one commuters and injuring fifty-three. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was suspected. The LTTE was also suspected in the bombing of a bus in the Kandy suburb of Polgolla that killed one person. Police later defused a Claymore mine at the same location.
June 7, 2008—Afghanistan—BBC journalist Abdul Samad Rohani was kidnapped in the Lashkar Gar region of Helmand Province. His body was found the next day. He had been kidnapped with an Italian journalist, who was freed after the government agreed to release five jailed Taliban members. 08060701
June 8, 2008—Algeria—Two bombs exploded at a train station in Beni Amrane, 60 miles east of Algiers, killing thirteen people, including a French engineer, and eight soldiers and three Algerian firefighters hit by the second blast five minutes later. An unknown number of others were injured. The French engineer, 57, and his Algerian driver were killed in the first explosion. He was working on a renovation project to expand the number of lines at the station. Both bombs appeared to be remotely detonated. Al Qaeda in Islamic North Africa was suspected. The Algerian Defense Ministry later said only the French citizen and his local driver were killed. 08060801
June 10, 2008—Spain—Police in Barcelona, Pamplona, and the northeastern province of Castellon arrested eight Algerian-born men ranging in age from 27 to 39 who were suspected of funding and providing logistical support to the Algerian-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Police also detained ten others suspected of assisting the main cell. Authorities seized 7,000 Euros (worth circa $10,800) and found evidence of monetary transfers to Algeria, bank books, telephone cards, CDs, videos, and other documents. The Interior Ministry’s spokesman said the group was “devoted to financing, recruitment, and sending warriors to conflict zones.” In addition to money, the group was believed to have provided night-vision goggles, cell phones, satellite navigation devices, and other electronic equipment to individuals in Algeria.
June 12, 2008—United States—The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that suspected terrorists and foreign fighters incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. military have the right to challenge their detention in federal court. The majority included Justices Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Strong dissents were cast by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito. The appeals had been filed by noncitizens, including lead plaintiffs Lakhdar Boumediene, a Bosnian, and Fawzi al-Odah, a Kuwaiti, who questioned the constitutionality of the October 2006 Military Commissions Act. Salim Ahmed Hamdan’s attorney said he would file an appeal asking that charges be dropped.
June 13, 2008—Spain/United States—Spain extradited to the U.S. arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar, who was accompanied on the Madrid-New York City flight by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officers. He was held on charges of supplying millions of dollars of weapons to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels to attack U.S. forces in Colombia. He had been arrested in Madrid in June 2007. The Spanish National Court approved his extradition in October 2007. The Court said that since the 1970s he had provided weapons to armed groups in Nicaragua, Brazil, Bosnia, Iran, and Iraq, inter alia. The Spanish government gave its final approval in early June 2008. The indictment charged him with conspiracy to support terrorists, conspiracy to kill U.S. soldiers, conspiracy to acquire and use antiaircraft missiles, and money laundering. The United States agreed not to seek the death penalty or life without parole, punishments that are not available in Spanish law. He had been acquitted in Spain in 1995 of supplying assault rifles used by the Palestinians who shipjacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, killing an American.
June 13, 2008—Afghanistan—Circa 870 prisoners escaped at 9:30 p.m. from Sarposa Prison, the Kandahar city jail, after a Taliban suicide fighter set off explosives in a vehicle at the gates. Another pedestrian suicide bomber set off his explosives at the rear of the prison. Thirty gunmen on motorbikes fired rockets and guns while all of the jail’s prisoners breached the walls. Several police officers were killed. At least 350 of the prisoners were believed to belong to the Taliban.
June 13, 2008—United States—Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohammed, 26, an Egyptian college student who made an instructional video on making remote-controlled devices into bombs agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of providing material support to terrorists. Prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges. He and fellow former University of South Florida student Youssef Samir Megahed were arrested after a traffic stop in South Carolina in August 2007 during which police found explosives in the trunk of the car Mohammed was driving. Megahed still faced charges of illegally transporting explosives and possession of a destructive device.
June 13, 2008—United States—A federal jury in Ohio, after three days of deliberations, convicted Mohammad Amawi, 28, Marwan el-Hindi, 45, and Wassim Mazloum, 27, of plotting to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq. A former Army Special Forces soldier posing as a radical recorded the men talking about training in explosives, guns, and sniper tactics for about two years beginning in 2004. U.S. District Judge James G. Carr did not set a sentencing date. The trio faced life in prison. They had been raising money for their jihad against U.S. troops.
June 16, 2008—United Kingdom/United Arab Emirates—The British government warned its nationals in the United Arab Emirates that terrorists might be planning attacks against their interests, including places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers, residential compounds, and “military, oil, transport, and aviation interests.”
June 17, 2008—Iraq—At 6:00 p.m., a bomb hidden in a minibus exploded at a bus terminal at a crowded market area in the heavily Shi’ite Huriya District of northwest Baghdad, killing fifty-one and wounding seventy-five.
June 18, 2008—United States—The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated two Venezuelans as supporters of Hizballah, freezing their assets and prohibiting Americans from conducting business transactions with the duo. They included Ghazi Nasr al-Din, a Venezuelan diplomat posted in the Venezuelan Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon; he had earlier worked in the Venezuelan Embassy in Damascus, Syria. The United States said he had arranged for Hizballah members to travel to a training course in Iran. The other designee was Fawzi Kan’an, a Caracas-based owner of two travel agencies who was a “supporter and a significant provider of financial support to Hizballah.” He had “met with senior Hizballah officials in Lebanon to discuss operational issues including possible kidnapping and terrorist attacks.” He reportedly also traveled with Hizballah operatives for training in Iran.
June 19, 2008—Nigeria—The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) attacked the Bonga oil field, some 65 miles from land, but were prevented from entering a computer control room which they had hoped to destroy. Royal Dutch Shell shut down production of the field, which produces 200,000 barrels per day. MEND said it had captured an American worker on a supply vessel nearby. Two sailors were injured in the attack.
Meanwhile, militants not affiliated with MEND sabotaged a Chevron Corporation pipeline in the Niger Delta, causing the company to shut down its onshore oil production, leading to production losses of 120,000 barrels per day. 08061901-02
June 21, 2008—Somalia—Hassan Mohamed Ali, a Somali who headed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees facility in Somalia, was abducted during the night by six men who broke into his Mogadishu home. He was freed on August 27. 08062101
June 22, 2008—Iraq—At 12:30 p.m. a female Iraqi suicide bomber killed fifteen, including seven police officers—among them a captain—and wounded more than forty-five, including ten Iraqi police officers, near a courthouse and government outpost in central Baquba in Diyala Province. She was wearing an explosive vest packed with ball bearings. Authorities blamed al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a group of takfiri Sunni extremists who attack Shi’ites, believing them to be heretics. She was the sixteenth female suicide bomber in Diyala Province and the twenty-first female suicide bomber in Iraq in 2008. One of the wounded police officers was Jassim Mohammed al-Saedi, who said the police were moving prisoners to court.
June 23, 2008—United Kingdom—Parliament approved the Court of Appeals’s ruling in May that the People’s Mujahideen of Iran should be taken off the list of terrorist groups. The group was still considered to be a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. The group now has greater freedom to organize and raise money in the United Kingdom.
June 24, 2008—Somalia—Pirates boarded a yacht that had run out of gas in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aden and took four European hostages: a man, a woman, their child, and their yacht’s pilot. Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, vice president of the breakaway Republic of Somaliland, said the hostages were taken into hills around Las Qoray, a fishing town claimed by Puntland, a self-declared autonomous state, and Somalia. The hostages were believed to be either French or German. 08062401
June 24, 2008—Iraq—At 9:20 a.m., a bomb went off at a meeting of the Sadr City District Council, killing four Americans, an Italian interpreter, and six Iraqis, who were outside the room. The four Iraqi council members inside the room survived. Steven L. Farley, 57, a State Department contract employee from Guthrie, Oklahoma, had served for several years in the Naval Reserve and volunteered to join the State Department in April 2007. Another dead American was a civilian contract worker for the Department of Defense. Two U.S. soldiers were also killed. Ten Iraqis and another U.S. soldier were injured. The bomb broke the legs of Qasim Abdul Zahra, a council member. The U.S. military suspected “special groups”—Iranian-backed militias—and caught three men with explosive residue on their hands. Authorities believed the target was Hassan Hussein Shammah, deputy council chief, who was also wounded. 08062402
June 25, 2008—Saudi Arabia—The Riyadh government announced that it had arrested 701 suspected al Qaeda-linked terrorists since the beginning of the year. Some had planned a car bombing of an oil installation. At least 181 were later released for lack of proof of links to terrorist networks. The other 520 remained in custody. Authorities had confiscated money, weapons, and ammunition. One man was arrested while trying to raise money in Yanbu.
June 26, 2008—Pakistan—Islamist radicals torched a hotel at Pakistan’s lone ski resort in the Swat Valley, near the Afghanistan border. They broke into the state-run hotel at the Malam Jabba resort, sacked it, and set it alight.
June 27, 2008—North Korea/United States—The United States removed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from its list of states that support terrorists after North Korea blew up the cooling tower of its Yongbyon nuclear plant in front of CNN cameras.
June 28, 2008—Somalia—A Swede and a Dane who worked for the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) were taken hostage by Islamist Courts Union militants in Hudor, a town near the Ethiopia border. They were released within hours. The duo educate people about the dangers of unexploded landmines. SRSA is a Swedish government foreign aid organization working at the request of the UN in Somalia. Seven people, including the district commissioner, were injured in the battle for Hudor. 08062801
July 1, 2008—Algeria—Abdelmalek Droukdel, alias Abou Mossab Abdelouadoud, leader of the al Qaeda affiliate in Algeria, told the New York Times that “We found America building military bases in the south of our country and conducting military exercises, and plundering our oil and planning to get our gas. Therefore, it became our right and our duty to … declare clearly the American interests are legitimate targets…. Everyone must know that we will not hesitate in targeting it whenever we can and wherever it is on this planet.” French, Spanish, and “Jewish” interests were also on his target list. “The large proportion of our mujahideen comes from Algeria. And there is a considerable number of Mauritanians, Libyans, Moroccans, Tunisians, Malians, and Nigerians.”
July 2, 2008—Israel—Hussam Edwyat, 34, a Palestinian constructor worker, killed three Israelis and injured forty others at lunchtime when he rammed his yellow Caterpillar earthmover into cars and buses on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, where he had lived and worked side-by-side with Jews. Police officer Eli Mizrahi jumped into the vehicle’s cab and shot him twice at close range, killing him. Among those killed were Elizabeth Goren Friedman, 54; a 30-year-old woman; and Jean Relevy, 68, a handyman. Neighbors said Edwyat had dated a Jewish woman for several years and had fathered her child; his relatives claimed his only two children were by his Palestinian wife. Police revealed he had a criminal record of drug charges and domestic abuse, for which he served two years in prison. Several terrorist groups claimed credit, although police suggested he was politically motivated but acted alone. He had lived in the Arabic Sur Baher neighborhood in Jerusalem.
July 3, 2008—Indonesia—Authorities arrested twelve militants, including three foreigners, in Palembang, while they were planning to attack a café in Bukittinggi, a tourist city in West Sumatra. They found a cache of explosives, including bomb-making materiel and guns. One of those detained was an English teacher and bomb maker linked to Mas Selemat Kastari, a Jemaah Islamiyah leader who escaped from a Singapore jail in March. Others were associated with a group led by Noordin Mohammad Top.
July 4, 2008—Belarus—A homemade bomb injured fifty people when it sprayed nuts and bolts into an open-air concert attended by President Alexander Lukashenko, who was unhurt. Another unexploded bomb was found nearby. On July 16, Minsk police conducted a house-by-house search. Liberal and nationalist opposition leaders said a dozen people had been detained. As of April 2011, no motive had been determined.
July 6, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen fired on people exiting a mosque in Mogadishu, killing Osman Ali Ahmed, head of the UN Development Program for Somalia, and wounding his son and another man. 08070601
July 6, 2008—Pakistan—A suicide bomber killed ten to fifteen people and injured twenty-two in a crowd of ten thousand conservative Islamist protestors and mourners commemorating a raid on the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007. On July 4, al Qaeda’s al-Sahab media wing had released a video tribute to the Mosque’s leaders, including previously-related messages from Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
July 7, 2008—Afghanistan—A car bomb killed 41 people and injured 150 others when it exploded at the entrance to the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Investigators said evidence at the scene suggested the involvement of a foreign intelligence agency. Some observers blamed the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) service. Pakistan denied involvement; Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Giliani promised to investigate the accusations. The Washington Post reported on August 1, 2008, that U.S. intelligence officials believed ISI had provided logistical assistance to the bombers, who were linked to Jalaluddin Haqqani, a Pashtun and pro–Taliban insurgent leader. Among the dead were an Indian defense attaché, a political information officer, two Indian security officials, and nine police officers. Among the injured was the 13-year-old daughter of Mohammed Sabeer, who could not find his three other children following the explosion. 08070701
July 7, 2008—Georgia—Four people died and five were injured when a bomb exploded in secessionist Abkhazia, the fifth bombing of the week. Georgian spokesmen denied charges of involvement.
July 8, 2008—Sudan—Hundreds of horseback-riding gunmen ambushed a convoy of sixty United Nations–African Union (UN-AU) peacekeepers, killing seven and wounding seven in Darfur in a two-hour firefight. The riders were joined by forty trucks carrying mounted machine guns and antitank and antiaircraft weapons. Several of the UN-AU trucks exploded. At least two soldiers and police officers were wounded. Most of the injured UNAMID peacekeepers were Rwandans. 08070801
July 9, 2008—Turkey—At 11:00 a.m., at least one gunman fired at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. In the ensuring five-minute gun battle, three guards and three gunmen were killed, and a police officer and a tow truck driver were injured. No Americans were harmed. The gunmen had driven up in a white vehicle. One walked up to a guard and shot him in the head. They then fired a pump-action shotgun and pistols. A fourth gunman escaped in the getaway car; police believed he might have been wounded. Al Qaeda was suspected, although Interior Minister Besir Atalay said all of the attackers were Turks. By the next day, authorities had detained four suspects, including the suspected gunman. One of the dead terrorists, Erkan Kargin, had been in Afghanistan. On July 13, authorities arrested and charged Dursun P. with membership in a terrorist organization and involvement in the attack. 08070901
July 9, 2008—Turkey—Kurdish separatists kidnapped three German mountain climbers on Mount Agri in the east. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was blamed. The kidnappers said, “We are not the enemies of the German people, and we have not mistreated any of the hostages. Unless the German government announces it has stopped its enemy-like politics towards PKK and the Kurds, we will not release the German citizens.” The PKK released them on July 20. The hostages were identified as Helmut Johann, Martin Georpe, and Lars Helmer Reime. 08070902
July 11, 2008—Israel—Just before midnight, a gunman wounded two Israeli policemen on patrol at the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. The attack was believed to be a Palestinian nationalist operation. A video camera captured the attack, but did not show the attacker’s face.
July 11, 2008—Nigeria—Two German employees of the construction firm Julius Berger were kidnapped in the Niger Delta. On August 14, 2008, MEND claimed that “an elite commando unit from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta [MEND] concluded a successful rescue of two German hostages and staff of Julius Berger.” 08071101
July 13, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen in a local militia shot to death a World Food Program staffer in Buale in the south. The gunmen had demanded payment for truckers ferrying aid to impoverished inhabitants.
July 15, 2008—Sudan—The UN Security Council announced that two hundred gunmen on horses and in forty vehicles “using sophisticated weaponry and tactics” attacked a UN peacekeeping patrol, killing one peacekeeper. 08071501
July 18, 2008—Afghanistan/United States—Aafia Siddiqui, 36, a Pakistani mother of three with a bachelor of science degree in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis, grabbed a U.S. soldier’s M-4 rifle from the floor and fired two shots at a group of Americans after being detained outside the Ghazni governor’s compound for questioning at a Ghazni police station. She was shot and wounded. Her purse contained “numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, chemical weapons, and other weapons involving biological material and radiological agents.” There were also “descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City,” such as the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Empire State Building, U.S. “military assets,” and excerpts from The Anarchist Arsenal. She was charged in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on August 5, 2008, with one count of attempting to kill U.S. military officers and FBI agents in Afghanistan and one count of assault. She faced twenty years per charge if convicted. She was represented by attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp.
She had left the United States for Afghanistan with her three children in March 2003, when the FBI said she was wanted for questioning for al Qaeda connections, particularly regarding Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah. Her name also was raised during interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In 2004, FBI Director Robert Mueller identified her as “an al Qaeda operative and facilitator” who was one of seven people sought for potential terrorist attacks in the United States. She was believed to have worked with and married al Qaeda terrorist Ammar al-Baluchi before his April 2003 arrest in Pakistan. While still living in Boston with her then-husband, a Pakistani doctor, the duo founded the Institute of Islamic Research and Teaching, which the United States said funded terrorist front charities.
On January 19, 2010, the trial on seven counts of attempted murder and other charges began in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She was represented by attorney Charles Swift. On February 3, 2010, after three days of deliberations, she was convicted on all seven counts. Sentencing was scheduled for May. She faced life in prison.
On September 23, 2010, a U.S. court sentenced Aafia Siddiqui to eighty-six years in prison. Hundreds of demonstrators in Pakistan protested the ruling.
July 18, 2008—Afghanistan—In a nighttime raid, gunmen kidnapped two French aid workers from their house in Daikundi Province. 08071801
July 20, 2008—Spain—Basque Nation and Liberty (ETA) set off five bombs in northern Spain, causing no injuries. An ETA member had phoned in warnings on four of the bombs.
July 20, 2008—Colombia—Millions of Colombians in hundreds of anti–Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia protests throughout the country demanded the release of hundreds of hostages held by the rebels. Protests were also held in dozens of locations outside the country, including New York, Washington, DC, and Paris. Hundreds of thousands of protestors jammed into Bogota; many wore symbolic chains.
July 21, 2008—China—A bomb exploded at 7:10 a.m. in a bus pulling into the Panjiawan bus stop on Kunming’s main street. Wang Dezhi, a woman, was killed, and her fiancé’s left arm was injured. A 74-year-old paying to get on the bus was lacerated by flying glass. A young man had gotten off the bus seconds earlier, leaving behind a black bag that held the bomb. At 8:05 a.m., a second bomb exploded on another bus on West Renmin Road. Two people were killed and fourteen were injured in the two attacks.
Commander Seyfullah (“Sword of God”) claimed credit for the Turkestan Islamic Party in a video released on July 26 and entitled Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan. Seyfullah said the group planned “to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely, using the tactics that have never been employed.” Observers believed the group is a cover name for the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. The Uighur speaker also claimed credit for a Shanghai bus explosion, a July 17 attack with an explosives-carrying tractor in Wenzhou, and a July 17 bombing of a plastics factory in Guangzhou. Observers noted inaccuracies in his statements, including that the Guanghou explosion was on March 13 in a vehicle repair plant and residential building, killing seven and wounding thirty; and that the Wenzhou explosion on May 17 involved a man who rammed his tractor into a gambling establishment and killed nineteen.
July 22, 2008—Israel—At 2:00 p.m., Ghasan Abu Teir, 23, yet another Palestinian construction worker, took his earthmover down Jerusalem’s King David Street, injuring sixteen people, one seriously, before being shot to death by military reservist Yaakov Asael, 53. The attack occurred a block from the King David Hotel, where presidential candidate Barack Obama was to stay the next evening. Teir crashed the earthmover into a bus and tried to tip it over with the shovel. He then crashed into passenger cars, damaging four within 150 yards. Teir’s family said he had no political affiliation and was a religious man who dropped out after eighth grade.
July 25, 2008—India—Nine bombs exploded in Bangalore within fifteen minutes, killing two and wounding at least twenty. The next day, police defused another bomb near a popular shopping mall. The bombs were unsophisticated and contained nuts and bolts. A woman and a day laborer were killed at a bus stop in Maiwala.
July 26, 2008—India—At least sixteen bombs exploded during the night in Ahmadabad, killing 56 and wounding 161. Among those killed was the father of Yash Vyas, 6, himself hospitalized by the blast. Yash’s brother was also hurt. The bombs went off in two waves: one near a market, a second near a hospital. One was hidden on a bus. Several were hidden in metal lunch boxes. The first bomb went off on a bicycle at 6:40 p.m. in Maninagar. Islamic militants were suspected. By the next day, police had rounded up thirty suspects.
A little-known group sent an e-mail to Indian television stations, saying, “Await five minutes for the revenge of Gujarat.” In 2002, riots in that state killed one thousand people, most of them Muslims. Ahmadabad is Gujarat’s capital. The note said, “In the name of Allah, the Indian Mujahideen strike again! Do whatever you can, within five minutes from now, feel the terror of death!” Some observers questioned the authenticity of the note, observing that it came from a French Yahoo account and was written in English by Guru al-Hindi (“Teacher of Indians”). Such a mélange of Arabic and Hindi is an odd construction.
By August 16, Indian police had arrested ten suspects affiliated with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) on charges of waging war against the state and murder. Police said the SIMI is another name for the Indian Mujahideen. Among those arrested were Mufti Abu Bashir and an employee of a software firm who had masterminded the attacks.
July 27, 2008—Turkey—Two bombs went off 15 meters from each other in the Gungoren suburb of Istanbul at 10:00 p.m., killing 17, including 5 children, and injuring 150 others. A stun grenade went off in a telephone booth and lured onlookers and rescuers to the area, where a second bomb exploded 40 meters away ten minutes later. The government blamed Kurdish rebels, but Zubeyir Aydar, a Kurdistan Workers Party leader, said Turkish nationalists were behind the attacks. One of the dead was Seyma Ozkan, 12, who ran to her balcony to see what the first explosion was about; a piece of shrapnel from the second bomb pierced her heart. Kazim Buyuk, 65, was hit in the leg by the first bomb.
July 28, 2008—Iraq—Four women set off explosives hidden under their abbayas, killing 51 and injuring more than 250. In Kirkuk, 15 died in a bombing at a Kurdish political demonstration. Subsequent fighting between Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmens killed 12 more and injured 187. At 8:00 a.m., three other suicide bombers attacked Shi’ites in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood within five minutes, hitting a tent where pilgrims were being fed, at a checkpoint for women, and at a Shi’ite march. The Baghdad bombings killed 24 and injured 79. Authorities blamed al Qaeda in Iraq.
July 28, 2008—Pakistan—The news media reported that a pre-dawn U.S. missile strike on a compound at a former religious school near Azam Warsak, a village in South Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan, killed six people, including possibly Midhat Mursi, alias Abu Khabab al-Masri, a senior al Qaeda figure. Local officials said four Egyptians and two Pakistanis were killed. Television news media later reported that possibly among the dead was Ayman al-Zawahiri.
July 29, 2008—United States—Aware that police were about to search his bedroom, Collin McKenzie-Gude, 19, went to White Flint Mall in southern Maryland, attacked a 78-year-old man, and tried to steal his car. A defense attorney said McKenzie-Gude later turned himself in to police. Patrick Yevsukov, a close friend who pleaded guilty to making and possessing pipe bombs and cooperated with police, said that the former Bethesda honor student was plotting to assassinate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. He planned to plant bombs in the road to halt the convoy, then shoot him with an AR-15 rifle that police found in his bedroom. McKenzie-Gude pleaded guilty in Montgomery Circuit Court to attempted carjacking.
On September 3, 2009, McKenzie-Gude pleaded guilty to possessing bomb-making chemicals found in his bedroom along with three high-powered rifles, two shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a manual showing how to kill someone from 200 meters away, 50-plus pounds of chemicals, and a map with markings around Camp David.
In a December 7, 2009, filing, prosecutors said documents found on his thumb drive indicated that he also planned to kill Meghan Haney—Yevsukov’s mother—and another student if a gun deal failed. Sentencing was scheduled for January 7, 2010; he faced eight years in prison. On January 7, 2010, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte postponed sentencing of McKenzie-Gude on charges of storing bomb-making materials in his bedroom closets. His attorney, Steven Kupferberg, wanted to call to the stand Patrick Yevsukov regarding a plot to kill President Obama. Prosecutors wanted McKenzie-Gude to serve another six and a half years. A hearing was set for January 14, 2010. McKenzie-Gude had pleaded guilty in a separate state court to a charge of attempted carjacking and was to be sentenced separately for that conviction. Yevsukov had pleaded guilty to two counts of the manufacture or possession of a destructive device and was to be sentenced soon. On January 19, McKenzie-Gude was sentenced to sixty-one months; the judge said he deserved seventy-eight months, but credited him for the seventeen months served since his arrest.
On May 12, 2010, Circuit Court Judge Michael D. Mason sentenced McKenzie-Gude to an additional year in prison for assaulting Dermot Owens in the attempted carjacking. On May 26, 2010, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Louise G. Scrivener placed Patrick Yevsukov on three years’ supervised probation. The 4.0 student at the University of Baltimore wanted to attend law school. He was represented by attorney Rene Sandler.
August 2008—Afghanistan—In mid-month, an American working for the Army Corps of Engineers was kidnapped and held in an insurgent stronghold 30 miles west of Kabul. In mid–October 2008, U.S. Special Forces soldiers conducted a nighttime rescue operation that freed him and killed several insurgents. It was the first time U.S. troops had rescued a hostage in Afghanistan. 08089901
August 2008—Pakistan—Chinese engineer Long Xiaowei was kidnapped. He was freed on February 14, 2009, days before President Asif Ali Zardari’s planned visit to China. 08089902
August 1, 2008—Syria—Brig. Gen. Mohammed Suleiman, 49, was shot to death near the port city of Tartous. He orchestrated Syrian weapons shipments to Hizballah. Exiled former Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam’s Free Syria Web site said a sniper on a yacht fired the four shots. An Israeli newspaper said Suleiman was also in charge of Syria’s nuclear program.
August 3, 2008—United States—Two bombs exploded at the University of California at Santa Cruz. A firebomb was set at a house porch, forcing an animal experimenter and his family to escape via a second-story window. Another bomb destroyed a researcher’s car. Police deemed the attacks “domestic terrorism.”
August 3, 2008—Algeria—A suicide car bomber wounded twenty-five people in Tizi Ouzou. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed credit, saying, “We tell the sons of France and the slaves of America, and their masters, too, that our finger is on the trigger and the convoys of martyrs are longing to rampage your bastions in defense of our Islamic nation.”
August 4, 2008—China—Two individuals drove a dump truck into a group of seventy police officers jogging near the Yiquan Hotel in Kashgar, then threw explosives at the wounded, killing sixteen and injuring sixteen. One bomb detonated early, blowing off the terrorist’s arm. The second terrorist threw a bomb near the gate of the police station. The Turkestan Islamic Party had threatened to disrupt the Olympics. China said the 8:00 a.m. attack was conducted by terrorists and arrested the two Uighur attackers, ages 28 and 33, at the scene. One attacker tried to slash the arresting officers. Police found another ten bombs, a homemade handgun, and four knives in the vehicle. Authorities said the duo left wills saying that they were willing to give up their lives in jihad against the government. One more police officer later died. On August 9, 2009, China executed the two members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement in front of four thousand observers in Kashgar Stadium.
August 4, 2008—Jordan—A military court sentenced ten men to up to five years in jail for planning to attack U.S. and Iraqi forces in Iraq. Two men were tried in absentia. The others were arrested inside Jordan or at the Syria border. The group met in a shop in Zarqa to watch videos of suicide attacks in Iraq and listen to speeches by al Qaeda leaders.
August 6, 2008—Guantanamo Bay—A military jury found Salim Ahmed Hamdan, bin Laden’s former driver, guilty of supporting terrorism but acquitted him of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. The next day, he was sentenced to sixty-six months in prison.
August 8, 2008—China—On the date of the opening of the Beijing Olympics, the Turkestan Islamic Party released a third video threatening attacks and calling on Muslims to avoid travel in the area. Spokesman Abdullah Mansour said, “We oppose implementing the Chinese Communist system in our homeland of East Turkestan because this system is based on atheism.”
August 10, 2008—China—Bomb-throwing Muslim terrorists left at least eleven people dead in Xinjiang region in western China. Ten terrorists and one security guard died in the dozen pre-dawn bombings of a police station, government buildings, the China Construction Bank, and the Three Eagle Shoe City shopping center in Kuqa County. Police killed seven of the attackers; three others blew themselves up. Police arrested another two and were searching for three more. The bombs were fashioned with bent pipes, gas canisters, and liquid gas tanks. In one attack, the terrorists drove a three-wheeled vehicle into a public security bureau compound, setting off explosives at 2:30 a.m., killing a security guard and injuring two police officers and two civilians. At 8:30 a.m., police found five individuals hiding under a counter in a nearby market. When confronted, the men threw bombs at the police. Police shot two to death; the other three killed themselves.
August 12, 2008—China—At 9:00 a.m., a terrorist jumped from a passing vehicle at a security checkpoint and stabbed to death three security officials in Yamanya town in Xinjiang region. He wounded a fourth before escaping.
August 12, 2008—Afghanistan—Unconfirmed Pakistani press reports indicated that Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, alias Sheik Saeed, al Qaeda’s senor commander in Afghanistan, was killed in a gun battle with Pakistani soldiers.
August 12, 2008—Pakistan—A roadside bomb aimed at Air Force personnel killed fourteen people, including seven Air Force officers, injured several other people, and damaged a bridge in Peshawar. Islamist Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan terrorists were suspected. The government had been engaging in operations against the group and al Qaeda. A security official claimed that al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri was killed in Bajaur.
August 12, 2008—Qatar—Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a rare English-language audio in which he accused Pakistani leaders of kowtowing to the United States, observing, “Let there be no doubt in your minds that dominant political forces at work in Pakistan today are competing to appease … the modern-day crusaders in the White House and are working to destabilize this nuclear-capable nation under the aegis of America.”
August 13, 2008—Afghanistan—At 10:30 a.m., five Taliban gunmen fired assault rifles in ambushing a two-car convoy of female foreign aid workers with the New York–based International Rescue Committee in Pul-i-Alam city in Logar Province, killing Nicole Dial, 30, a dual American-Trinidad citizen; Jacqueline Kirk, 40, a dual Canadian-British citizen; a Canadian woman initially identified as an Irish aid worker; and their Afghan driver, Mohammad Aimal, 25 of Kabul. The Taliban said the aid workers were spies trying to undermine the country. The trio were returning from meetings with officials in Sayed Habibullah in Logar Province, where they were exploring setting up an education program for mentally and physically disabled children. 08081301
August 13, 2008—Lebanon—Fatah al-Islam set off a bomb packed in a briefcase next to a bus on Masarif Street in Tripoli at 8:00 a.m., killing fourteen, including nine Lebanese soldiers and two civilians, and injuring more than fifty others. The remotely-detonated bomb was filled with nuts and bolts. Police blamed Hizballah.
August 14, 2008—Iraq—A female suicide bomber set off explosives in Iskandariyah among Shi’ite pilgrims on their way to the Shabaniyah religious festival in Karbala, killing eighteen and wounding sixty-eight. Kamil Kadhim, 29, was struck by a ball bearing. Police were suspicious of the woman who was wearing thick clothes on a very hot evening, but when they approached her, she set off the bomb, killing three police officers and others.
August 15, 2008—Colombia—Leftist rebels set off a bomb at a small town festival, killing seven and wounding fifty.
August 18, 2008—United Kingdom—Aabid Hussain Khan, 23, and Sultan Muhammad, 23, were found guilty of possessing a large number of articles and information, including al Qaeda propaganda and guides on how to make poisons and suicide vests. The next day, Khan, the ringleader of the cell, was sentenced to twelve years; Muhammad was sentenced to ten years.
August 19, 2008—Algeria—An al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb suicide bomber drove a car bomb into an Algerian police academy in Issers, 35 miles east of Algiers, killing forty-eight people—all but one were civilians—and wounding another forty-five.
August 19, 2008—Northern Ireland—A bomber used a rocket-propelled grenade loaded with Semtex against police officers on patrol 80 miles southwest of Belfast. The Semtex may have been part of a Provisional Irish Republican Army cache that was decommissioned as part of the 1998 Good Friday peace accord.
August 19, 2008—Afghanistan—Some one hundred Taliban attackers killed ten French paratroopers on patrol in a mountain ambush near Sarobi, 40 miles east of Kabul. The gunmen injured another twenty-one French soldiers. The Taliban lost thirteen fighters; fourteen were injured. Another group of six suicide bombers tried to attack Camp Salerno, a NATO base in Khost Province, killing ten Afghans and wounding thirteen. A second bomb was defused.
August 20, 2008—Algeria—Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb synchronized suicide bombers killed twelve people. A pre-dawn car bomb went off outside a military command post in Bouira, 60 miles southeast of Algiers, wounding seven soldiers and one police officer. Fifteen minutes later, a car bomb went off next to a passenger bus outside a central Bouira hotel, killing twelve Algerians and injuring thirty-four. The attack targeted contractors working on a dam project. Bus passengers worked for SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian engineering and construction firm based in Montreal. 08082001
August 20, 2008—Pakistan—Several suicide bombers set off explosives at entry points to the nuclear weapons complex at the Wah Cantonment, reportedly a nuclear weapons assembly plant, according to a research paper published by Bradford University’s Shaun Gregory.
August 21, 2008—Philippines—Leaders of a Muslim rebel group rejected the government’s call, as part of a peace agreement, for the surrender of Abdullah Macapaar and Ameril Umbra Kato, who led attacks that killed dozens of people.
August 21, 2008—Pakistan—Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers killed sixty and injured one hundred in an attack at the country’s largest army munitions factory in Wah. One bomb went off at 2:30 p.m. when two suicide bombers walked up to the main gate of the Pakistan Ordinance Factory and detonated their suicide vest. A third bomber set off explosives at another gate. Most of the dead were civilian workers killed during a shift change.
August 22, 2008—United Kingdom—Authorities arrested three men in the north during an investigation into death threats posted on a Web site in January by al Qaeda in Britain against Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
August 23, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen kidnapped Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, Australian journalist Nigel Brennan, their Somali driver, and two Somali guards while they were traveling southwest of Mogadishu. The two journalists were freed on November 25, 2009. It was not disclosed whether a ransom had been paid. 08082301
August 24, 2008—United States—Authorities arrested three men in suburban Denver who reportedly had discussed several assassination plots against Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and possessed high-powered rifles, camouflage, and other gear. On August 26, the trio was charged with gun and drug violations. Authorities said the threat was more “aspirational than operational.” The prosecutor said the threats, “hateful and bigoted though they were, involved a group of meth heads, methamphetamine abusers, all of whom were impaired at the time.” The Democratic National Convention began on August 25 in Denver.
Shawn Robert Adolf, 33, faced thirty-three years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm, body armor, and possession of meth with intention to distribute. He was arrested at the Cherry Creek Hotel in Glendale, where he was staying with a woman who joined him to take meth.
Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, faced two years on gun and drug charges. He was arrested at 1:30 a.m. on August 24 when police saw him driving erratically. They found two rifles, eighty-five rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, and meth lab items. He said the guns belonged to the two others, who had been partying at a local Hyatt.
Nathan Dwaine Johnson faced eleven years for illegal possession of firearms and meth. Police arrested him at the Hyatt. He told Secret Service agents that Adolf said he could kill Obama with a sniper rifle on Inauguration Day. On December 17, 2008, Johnson pleaded guilty in Denver federal court to a charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He faced up to thirty-seven months in prison. Sentencing was set for March 20, 2009.
August 26, 2008—Pakistan—A bomb went off on a bridge in Bannu, throwing a bus carrying Pakistani police and government workers over the railing and into a riverbed 30 feet below. Eight people were killed. Insurgents were blamed.
August 26, 2008—Pakistan—Gunmen fired on the armored vehicle of Lynne Tracy, principal officer at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, as she was leaving her home in the University Town district at 8:00 a.m. to go to work. She was unharmed. The car returned to the house. Three employees were in the car. 08082601
August 26, 2008—Afghanistan—Japanese aid worker Kazuya Ito, 31, who worked for the Japan-based Peshawar-kai aid agency, was kidnapped in Nangarhar. His bullet-riddled body was found the next day in Shewa. The Afghan Interior Ministry claimed its police forces had staged a rescue attempt. 08082602
August 27, 2008—Sudan—A man carrying a knife hijacked a B-37 carrying one hundred people, including Darfur Transitional Authority officials, after takeoff from Nyala, South Darfur, en route to Khartoum. He and a colleague diverted it to Kufra, Libya, where he released the passengers but kept six crew as hostages. They later surrendered after negotiations with Libyan authorities. The Sudanese Liberation Army denied involvement. 08082701
August 27, 2008—China—Two policemen and six assailants died when police searching for a separatist woman in a cornfield were attacked by knife-wielding rebels, who also wounded two police officers.
August 28, 2008—United States—The U.S. Treasury Department added Joseph Kony, leader of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, to its list of specially designated global terrorists, which imposes financial sanctions.
September 2008—Nigeria—The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) released ill British oil worker Robin Barry Hughes on April 19, 2009. MEND said he was “handed over to contacts who in turn handed him over to his employers,” Hydrodrive. No ransom was requested. The group said it was releasing him because of “health and age considerations,” but that Mathew John Maguire, who was kidnapped with Hughes, “will remain in our custody until further notice.” The group had initially demanded the release by Nigeria of MEND member Henry Okah, who was detained in 2008 and charged with treason.
MEND reneged on a pledge to release Maguire, of Wirral, Birkenhead, Merseyside, United Kingdom, on his birthday, June 1, 2009. The 35-year-old was captured from a boat carrying him to an oil rig. His father had used a Nigerian Web site to contact them. Rebel spokesman Jomo Gbomo posted a note to the Web site saying that the hostage would be released after 258 days in captivity provided the kidnappers’ safety was guaranteed. On June 12, 2009, MEND said it had released Maguire to Port Harcourt authorities. A private security official confirmed the release. 08099901
September 2008—Pakistan—Ambassador-designate Abdul Khaliq Farahi was freed in Khost, Afghanistan, on November 13, 2010, and returned to his government. He had been kidnapped in September 2008 while on his way home in a Karachi suburb after having been named Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan. His driver was killed in the attack. 08099902
September 2, 2008—Sri Lanka—Some forty-eight people were killed and fifty-seven wounded in battles between Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels and the Army’s 57th Division, who wrested control of LTTE’s nerve center in Mallavi.
September 3, 2008—Pakistan—Gunmen fired at the motorcade of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as his Mercedes limousine was en route to picking him up at the airport. Two bullets hit the driver’s window as it was driving on the main highway between Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
September 12, 2008—United States/Venezuela—The United States announced that former Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, military intelligence director Hugo Carvajal, and Henry de Jesus Silva, director of intelligence and prevention services, had assisted the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to obtain weapons to attempt to overthrow Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Rodriguez reportedly was in contact with FARC leaders Luciano Marin, alias Ivan Marquez, and Rodrigo Londono, alias Timochenko. The U.S. Treasury Department placed financial sanctions on the trio.
September 13, 2008—India—Five bombs placed in trash cans and on bicycles and an auto-rickshaw exploded in crowded markets in New Delhi within twenty-five minutes, killing at least twenty-three and injuring more than one hundred. Among the dead was the 10-year-old daughter of Fareeda Sheik Liaqat, 35. The first ammonium nitrate bomb went off at 6:15 p.m. near a car in an electronics market. One of the sites was the upscale Greater Kailash market. The Indian Mujahideen claimed credit by sending from a Mumbai suburb an e-mail that said, “Within five minutes from now … this time with the Message of Death, dreadfully terrorizing you for your sins. And thus our promise will be fulfilled, Insh’allah. Do whatever you want and stop us if you can.” The e-mail said that there would be nine explosions; police defused four other bombs. The bombs were packed with ball bearings and used timers. Shop owner Ejaz Ahmad, 32, was injured.
Within a day, police had arrested ten suspects. Police said Abdul Suban Tauqir, a software engineer, was suspected of sending the e-mail.
Two of the suspects were killed in an 11:00 a.m. raid on their New Delhi safe house on September 19. Police officer Mohan Chand Sharma, 44, died and several were seriously injured. A third suspect was detained; two others escaped. Police said one of the dead terrorists was Mohammad Atif, who was a leader in the New Delhi bombings and several others in three other towns in 2008. He was believed associated with Abdul Sbhan Qureshi, alias Tauqeer, a computer expert and member of a radical Indian student group. Police seized bomb-making equipment, an AK-47 assault rifle and two pistols. Indian authorities detained Zeesham Ahmed, a graduate student of business management who scored high in commercial law and organizational behavior.
On September 24, Indian police arrested Mohammed Arif Shaikh, founder of the Indian Mujahideen, along with four others who were in possession of explosives, ammunition, and detonators, while they were planning an attack on Mumbai.
On October 24, police arrested four Hindus on charges of involvement in the motorcycle bombing in Malegaon, near Mumbai, that killed five people. One of the suspects was Pragya Singh, 36, who said she was a sadhvi (saint). She was in her late 20s and had been associated with the student wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and the women’s wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council). She owned the motorcycle used in one of the bombings. Ganesh Sovani was her attorney.
By November 23, ten Hindus, including Army Lt. Col. Srikant Prasad Purohit, were in custody. Authorities said Purohit trained Hindu activists in combat techniques and explosives. Avinash Bhide served as his attorney.
Police said most of the detainees were associated with the Abhinav Bharat (New India), which advocated the creation of a Hindu nation and said the government was soft on Muslim terrorism. The group’s president is Himani Savarkar, 62.
September 15, 2008—Australia—A Melbourne jury convicted a Muslim cleric and five followers of forming a terrorist group that considered conducting “violent jihad” by assassinating former Prime Minister John Howard and attacking sports events, including a football game that attracts one hundred thousand people and the Formula One Grand Prix. Four others were found innocent of membership in the group. The jury was still deliberating on the fate of two others. Those convicted faced life terms. Among them was Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 48, an Algerian-born cleric who led the cell. He was represented by Remy Van de Wiel.
September 15, 2008—Philippines—Gunmen kidnapped six people from their two vehicles on a road near Kabangalan village on Basilan Island. Two of the people escaped. A few hours later, the kidnappers released two people, including Ludy Borja Dekit, 37, an employee of a Richmond, Virginia–based aid agency. Two remained as hostages. 08091501
September 15, 2008—Mexico—Terrorists threw two grenades into a crowd celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day in Morelia, Michoacan, killing seven and injuring more than one hundred. Mexican drug gangs were believed responsible. On September 26, Mexican federal prosecutors arrested three Zeta Gulf drug cartel gang members who confessed to throwing the grenades.
September 17, 2008—Yemen—At 9:15 a.m., six gunmen wearing military uniforms attacked the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, killing thirteen when they fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons and set off two vehicle bombs at the main gate. Among the dead were six guards and four civilians, plus Susan Elbaneh, 18, a Yemeni American from New York who had married a Yemeni in a traditional arranged marriage less than a month earlier. She was a cousin of Jaber Elbaneh, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. The six gunmen also died. Al Qaeda was suspected. Police detained twenty-five people for questioning, but authorities later said it would not institute more stringent security measures. Authorities said on November 1 that the six gunmen had trained in al Qaeda camps in Hadramut and Marib Provinces. Three of them had been in Iraq. 08091701
September 19, 2008—Germany—Authorities arrested two men near Frankfurt for plotting to blow up U.S. targets in 2007 and charged them with membership in a terrorist group. Omid Shirkhani, 27, a German citizen of Afghan descent, had trained at Islamic Jihad Union camps on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the spring and summer of 2007. Hueseyin Ozgun, 27, a Turk, had traveled to the same area in 2007 but was detained by Pakistani security forces before he could reach the camp. He was returned to Germany. The duo had shared bank account information and a debit card with the trio (Fritz Martin Gelowicz, Adem Yilmaz, and Daniel Martin Schneider) arrested on September 4, 2007, for planning bombings against U.S. targets.
September 19, 2008—Egypt—Gunmen kidnapped five Germans, five Italians, and a Romanian tourist and eight Egyptian guides and drivers during a safari while they were camping and took them into Sudan. Two of the Italians were in their 70s. The kidnappers demanded $6 million ransom for the group, which was taken from the Gilf al-Kebir plateau near the Great Sand Sea noted for its cave paintings. The hostages were rescued on September 29 in a joint Egyptian-Sudanese operation near the Sudan-Chad border; no ransom was paid. The Egyptian Defense Minister said half of the kidnappers are dead. 08091901
September 20, 2008—Mauritania—The army found the bodies of a dozen soldiers who had been ambushed in the desert the week before by the local al Qaeda branch. The victims had been shot and their throats slit.
September 20, 2008—Pakistan—A suicide dump truck bomb carrying a ton of explosives went off at Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel, killing at least 60 and injuring 266. Some observers said that the death toll would reach at least 100. At least 21 foreigners, including the Czech Republic’s ambassador, were among the casualties. Several guards who had examined the truck were killed. Two Department of Defense employees were dead, a contractor was missing, and three State Department officers were hurt. Pakistani authorities said the attackers had targeted the official residence of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, a block away from the hotel. Authorities blamed terrorists from South Waziristan, saying Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, was the chief suspect. By October 24, police had arrested four men in Punjab who were suspected of “indirect involvement” in the bombing. The government blamed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi for assisting the attackers. 08092001
September 20, 2008—Ethiopia—Gunmen kidnapped two foreign Doctors for the World in Ethiopia’s Ogaden Province, smuggled them across the border into Somalia, and held them for 108 days before releasing them on January 6, 2009, in Mogadishu, Somalia. Keiko Akahane, 32, a Japanese doctor, and Willem Sools, 27, a Dutch nurse, appeared unharmed. Akahane told reporters, “Every day I was afraid we might get killed. In the first week, the month, we didn’t know when we’d get killed—was it tonight or tomorrow night? Every time we heard the guns, we thought ‘This is the end.’” 08092002
September 21, 2008—Nigeria—The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta declared a unilateral cease-fire following appeals from elders and politicians in the southern region. The group said it would resume attacks if its base camps were raided by the military.
September 21, 2008—Spain—A car bomb exploded at the Ondarroa police station, injuring ten people. Another bomb went off in Vitoria, the Basque region’s capital. Police blamed the Basque Nation and Liberty (ETA). Three days earlier, a court had banned a pro-independence Basque political party for its ETA links.
September 22, 2008—Israel—A Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem crashed his car into a group of soldiers near the Old City of Jerusalem, injuring thirteen before he was shot to death.
September 24, 2008—Somalia—Islamist insurgents fired mortar rounds into a base of African Union peacekeepers and surrounding neighborhoods in Mogadishu, killing eleven civilians and injuring forty. No soldiers were harmed.
September 24, 2008—Russia—Ruslan Yamadayev, 46, a former Chechen rebel commander in the mid–1990s who defected to the Russians in 1999 and served in the Russian parliament, was shot to death during the night when a gunman walked up to his black Mercedes while waiting in traffic near the British Embassy in Moscow. Passenger Lt. Col. Sergei Kizyun, a retired Chechen military officer, was critically wounded. The assailant fled in a getaway car.
September 25, 2008—Germany—Federal prosecutors issued arrest warrants for Eric Breininger, 21, a German citizen and Muslim convert, and Houssain al-Malla, 23, a Lebanese, who had reentered Germany after attending camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They were suspected of involvement with the Islamic Jihad Union.
September 25, 2008—Israel—At 1:00 a.m., a pipe bomb planted outside his Jerusalem home lightly wounded Zeev Sternhel, 70s, in his leg. The Holocaust survivor is a leading Israeli political scientist and critic of Jewish settlement of the West Bank. Police found fliers in his neighborhood offering $320,000 for the death of any member of Peace Now, which he had supported in opposing Jewish settlements. Police blamed the extreme right and members of the settlers’ movement. Itamar Ben-Gvir, spokesman for the National Jewish Front, said, “I don’t denounce this incident, but say categorically that we are not involved.”
September 26, 2008—Germany—At 6:55 a.m., German troops boarded Royal KLM flight 1804 at Cologne-Bonn airport as it was prepared to leave the gate for Amsterdam and arrested Abdirazak B., a Somali, 23, and Omar D., a Somali-born German, 24, who were planning terrorist attacks. The duo had left notes in their apartments saying that they were willing to die for jihad. The two were scheduled to fly to Uganda via Amsterdam, then on to Pakistan, where many Germany-based radicals had attended terrorist training camps.
September 26, 2008—Pakistan—Police attacked a Karachi insurgent safe house. In the ensuing gun battle, three suicide bombers blew themselves up, also killing a handcuffed prisoner.
September 26, 2008—Pakistan—A bomb derailed a train in Punjab, killing four and wounding fifteen.
September 27, 2008—United Kingdom—London police arrested three men on suspicion of the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism.
September 27, 2008—India—At 2:15 p.m., a small bomb exploded in a New Delhi hardware and electronics market, killing one and wounding eighteen. Two men on a motorcycle dropped a plastic bag containing a lunchbox and sped away. Police said it contained a crude, low-intensity bomb. A small boy was killed when he picked up the bomb, causing it to detonate. He had called out, “Uncle, you have left your bag behind.”
September 27, 2008—Syria—At 8:45 a.m., a suicide bomber detonated a GMC Suburban carrying 440 pounds of explosives in the Sayeda Zaineb neighborhood of Damascus, killing seventeen. The vehicle had crossed into the country a day earlier from an unnamed Arab country. The southern neighborhood was near a Shi’ite shrine which draws pilgrims from Iran and other countries. The area was home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi war refugees. Takfir was suspected.
September 27, 2008—Algeria—A car bomb killed three and injured seven.
September 28, 2008—Pakistan—Polish engineer Piotr Stanczak was kidnapped. On October 14, 2008, the kidnappers released a video of him. They claimed to have killed him on February 7, 2009, after a deadline had passed; the group had demanded the release of sixty prisoners and the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the area. Poland’s foreign minister said internal Pakistani government bickering hampered efforts to stop Stanczak’s eventual beheading. Stanczak, a geologist, left behind a child. 08092801
September 29, 2008—Lebanon—Fatah al-Islam was suspected in the remote detonation of a Renault car bomb near a bus full of Lebanese soldiers that killed five and wounded more than thirty during the morning rush hour on a road leading to several schools. No one claimed credit. The bomb contained ball bearings.
October 1, 2008—Lebanon—By October 8, two American journalists who had not been seen since October 1 were believed to be missing. Holli Chmela, 27, and Taylor Luck, 23, had been vacationing in the area. Both worked for the Jordan Times and had been expected to have returned from Beirut and Tripoli to Amman by October 4. They had arrived in Lebanon on September 29. They had also planned a side trip by taxi to Syria. On October 9, they were discovered in custody in Damascus, Syria, having tried to sneak into the country with smugglers. They were released in good condition.
October 3, 2008—Pakistan—The government said a 10:00 p.m. U.S. missile strike had killed twenty-four people, including twenty-one insurgents, among them sixteen Arabs, five Pakistani Taliban fighters, two women, and a child in North Waziristan. The Washington Post reported that the attack was aimed at Taliban leaders and Afghan brothers Daud Jan and Abdur Rehman in Muhammad Khel village, 20 miles west of Miranshah.
October 3, 2008—Iraq—Mahir Ahmad Mahmud Judu al-Zubaydi, alias Abu Assad, alias Abu Rami, an emir of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a gun battle with U.S. troops in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiyah. He was believed to be behind a series of bombings in Baghdad, including a car bombing and suicide bombing on October 2 that targeted people outside Shi’ite mosques. He was the al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) leader in Rusafa, an eastern Baghdad district. A woman with him was also killed. He had left Ansar al-Islam to join AQI in 2004. He was behind several car bombings and mortar attacks in Sadr City in 2006 and 2007, including the fall 2006 bombing that killed more than two hundred. He was also believed behind a May 1, 2008, bombing in Baghdad that killed a U.S. soldier and wounded three others.
October 4, 2008—Pakistan—Adam Gadahn, alias Azzam al-Amriki, released a thirty-two-minute As-Sahab video on the Internet mentioning Pakistan, U.S. economic problems, and fighting in Kashmir. He said, “It’s time for you to put aside tribal, ethnic and territorial differences and petty worldly disputes not just for now but forever and unite to restore the glories of your forefathers and hasten, Allah willing, the defeat of the Zionist-crusader enemy and the establishment of the Islamic state, the Ummah, so eagerly anticipated.” Turning to a “victory in Kashmir” that will occur some day, he observed,
It is the liberation of the jihad there from this interference which, Allah willing, will be the first step towards victory over the Hindu occupiers of that Islam land…. The enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat, which is beginning to manifest itself in the extended crisis their economy is experiencing. The crisis, whose primary cause, in addition to the abortive and unsustainable crusades they are waging in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, is they are turning their backs on Allah’s revealed laws, which forbid interest-bearing transactions, exploitation, greed, and injustice in all its forms and demand the worship of Allah alone to the exclusion of all false gods, including money and power.
October 5, 2008—Iraq—Abu Qaswarah, alias Abu Sara, the Swedish-Moroccan deputy chief of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) since June 2007 and its leader in the north, was killed in Mosul in a clash with coalition forces. Four other AQI members died in the battle which began during a raid on a safe house in which the terrorists initiated fire on the soldiers. An explosive belt detonated inside the house, killing five AQI insurgents, three women, and three children. He was believed to have planned attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces in Mosul, including a foiled attack on the Mosul Civic Center in September 2008. Authorities later announced that his name was Muhammad Moumou, 43, a Moroccan who obtained Swedish citizenship in 1994 and who was listed as a terrorist by the United States, UN, and European Union. The U.S. Department of the Treasury named him a terrorist facilitator on December 7, 2006. He was born in Fez, Morocco, and became a close associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, serving as his chemical and biological weapons liaison in Europe. He trained at al Qaeda’s Khalden camp in Afghanistan in the mid–1990s. He was arrested in Denmark in March 2004 for suspected involvement in the 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca that killed thirty-three people. He had ties to the radical Brandbergen Mosque in Stockholm. He had also lived in London, Stockholm, and Haninge, Sweden. His Swedish passport was due to expire in December 2009.
October 6, 2008—Sri Lanka—A Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam suicide bomber killed retired Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera and twenty-six others at an opposition United National Party office in Anuradhapura. Another eighty were injured.
October 6, 2008—Pakistan—A suicide bomber set off an explosives vest at the Bhakkar home of opposition parliamentary leader Rashid Akbar Nawani, killing twenty and injuring thirty-five. The guests were celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Nawani was slightly injured. Some television stations said thirty-five were killed and fifty-three injured.
October 6, 2008—Somalia—Two Kenyan Agriculture Ministry employees and their local driver were kidnapped near the southwestern border. The driver was soon released. 08100601
October 7, 2008—Guantanamo Bay—U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled that seventeen Uighurs held at the Guantanamo facility who had been deemed no threat to the United States could not be held indefinitely. They were ordered to be released by October 10 to seventeen Uighur families in the Washington, DC, area who had agreed to house them temporarily. The Justice Department filed an emergency appeal saying that the order violated separation-of-powers and presented national security concerns. The Justice Department said that the seventeen had trained at East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) camps. The ETIM had been designated a terrorist organization after the seventeen had been detained in Pakistan nearly seven years ago. The next day, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the Justice Department request for an emergency administrative stay of the release.
October 8, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen kidnapped a British oil worker affiliated with the Canadian-based Africa Oil Corporation. He was detained near Bossaso, a center of kidnappings and piracy. Security forces surrounded the kidnappers and freed the Briton in a gun battle in which one bandit was killed and another wounded. The Briton was unharmed. 08100801
October 9, 2008—United States—A federal judge in Miami sentenced two United Self Defense Forces of Colombia paramilitary leaders to long prison terms after they pleaded guilty to cocaine conspiracy charges. Ramiro Vanoy Murillo, 60, received more than twenty-four years in prison. Francisco Javier Zuluaga Lindo, 28, received nearly twenty-two years.
October 11, 2008—United States—The Bush Administration took North Korea off its list of countries that support terrorism, following years of negotiation regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. North Korea had agreed to not restart its reactor. North Korea had been on the list since 1987. Still on the list were Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba.
October 12, 2008—Afghanistan—Canadian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Mellissa Fung, 35, was kidnapped while reporting as a freelancer. She was traveling with her translator and driver after interviewing refugees in a camp near Kabul. Local media covered the kidnapping, but the international media did not, following a request from the CBC and the Canadian Embassy suggesting that coverage would complicate the case. She was freed in good health in Kabul on November 8 at 7:30 p.m. She said that she was held in a small cave in which she could hardly stand. For the first weeks, she was held under guard. During the last week, her ankles and wrists were shackled. Tribal elders and provincial council members interceded for her release. No ransom was paid. 08101201
October 13, 2008—Mexico—In the early morning, two gunmen threw a grenade and fired at the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey. The grenade did not explode. Several bullets hit the front gate and windows of the building. Police later found six bullet casings from a pistol. Authorities speculated that it could have been a drug cartel, foiled border crossers, or other amateurs. 08101301
October 15, 2008—Turkey—A drunken Uzbek passenger tried to hijack a Turkish Airlines A-320 carrying 164 Russians and 3 others from Antalya, Turkey, to St. Petersburg, Russia. He had claimed to have a bomb, but was overpowered by the passengers. No bomb was found. The plane landed on time at 3:20 p.m. at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. 08101501
October 16, 2008—Israel—Israeli troops shot and killed a suspected Palestinian male bomber in a West Bank village.
October 16, 2008—Pakistan—Khalid Habib, an operations coordinator for al Qaeda in the tribal region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, was believed killed in a missile strike in Saam, Wana, South Waziristan, that killed four civilians and wounded seven others. He was believed to be a deputy to Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, alias Sheikh Said, commander of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
October 19, 2008—Sudan—Nine Chinese oil workers were kidnapped in the southwestern Kordofan Province, next to Darfur. No group claimed credit, although the Sudanese Foreign Ministry blamed the Justice and Equality Movement, a Darfur rebel group which denied involvement. On October 27, the kidnappers killed five of the hostages. Two others escaped; the other two were being held. Chinese officials announced the next day that four of the hostages died in a failed rescue attempt. 08101901
October 19, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen shot to death a Somali engineer employed by the UN as he walked home from a mosque with friends in Hudur. 08101902
October 20, 2008—Afghanistan—Two gunmen on a motorcycle killed Gayle Williams, 34, who had worked for Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises, a U.K.-based Christian charity, in an 8:00 a.m. drive-by shooting in Kabul. She was walking to work in the Kart-e-Char neighborhood when they fired automatic weapons at her. A Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Muhahi said, “This woman came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to the people of Afghanistan. Our leaders issued a decree to kill this woman.” She had British and South African nationalities. 08102001
October 21, 2008—China—Police requested the extradition of eight members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement thought to be hiding in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Chinese men were believed to have plotted attacks during the August 8–24 Olympic Games, including bombings in China, the Middle East, and South Asia.
October 21, 2008—Saudi Arabia—The government indicted 991 suspected members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who had conducted thirty attacks since 2003 in an effort to destabilize the regime.
October 22, 2008—United States—Members of the Sheriff’s Office in Crockett County, Tennessee, arrested two neo–Nazi skinheads who planned to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, kill eighty-eight black people, and decapitate fourteen other victims. Police had foiled an attempt to rob a gun store and attack a predominantly African American high school. The duo were identified as Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tennessee, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of Helena–West Helena, Arkansas. They were held without bond. Authorities confiscated a high-powered rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, a handgun, and several swords and knives from the rural Tennessee home of Cowart’s grandparents, where the duo were staying. They were charged with possession of an unregistered firearm, conspiracy to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a presidential candidate.
Cowart and Schlesselman met online a month earlier via a mutual friend. The duo planned to use nylon rope and ski masks in robberies and home invasions across several states in a killing spree. At the end, they planned to dress in white tuxedos and white top hats and drive their car at speed, firing a .308-caliber rifle at Obama from the windows. However, the day after they met, they failed in an attempted robbery of a home in Bells, Tennessee, when they noticed a dog and two vehicles on the premises. For practice, they fired at a window of the Church of Christ of Beech Grove in Brownsville, Tennessee. They then chalked swastikas and other racially motivated words and symbols on the hood of their car.
The numbers eighty-eight and fourteen are symbolic to white supremacists. Fourteen is the number of words in a phrase attributed to a white supremacist who said, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The eight refers to the eighth letter of the English alphabet. Double Hs are the initials for Heil Hitler.
The two pleaded not guilty on November 6 in front of a federal magistrate in Memphis to charges of conspiracy and firearms offenses. They were held without bail in a Tennessee prison. They faced more than a decade in prison. On November 20 they were charged in a superseding indictment with civil rights conspiracy. Cowart was also charged with damage to religious property and use of a firearm during a violent crime. On November 26, Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman pleaded not guilty to the new federal charges.
On January 14, 2010, Paul Schlesselman pleaded guilty in a Jackson, Tennessee, courtroom to one count of conspiracy, one count of threatening to kill and harm a presidential candidate, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Sentencing was scheduled for April 2010, when he faced ten years. Co-defendant Daniel Cowart remained in custody.
On March 29, 2010, in a plea agreement, Daniel Cowart pleaded guilty to eight to ten counts of conspiracy, threatening a presidential candidate, and federal firearms violations. Cowart faced twelve to eighteen years in prison. Co-defendant Paul Schlesselman was to be sentenced on April 15.
October 24, 2008—United States—Afghan citizen Haji Juma Khan, 54, pleaded not guilty in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to charges of leading an international narcotrafficking group that funded the Taliban. He was detained in Indonesia the previous day on an Interpol notice, having arrived in Jakarta from Dubai. His group had produced enough morphine base to supply American heroin demand for more than two years.
October 25, 2008—Afghanistan—A local security guard working at the DHL shipping firm office in Kabul shot to death the firm’s country director and his deputy before committing suicide. A Briton and a South African were killed. The shooter was hired a month earlier from a Pashtun area north of Kabul. Many Taliban members are Pashtuns, but the Taliban denied involvement.
October 28, 2008—Sri Lanka—Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels conducted an air strike against a power station near Colombo, darkening the city.
October 28, 2008—Spain—Police detained four Basque Nation and Liberty members suspected of planning an attack in Navarra region. Police confiscated weapons and explosives.
October 29, 2008—Canada—A court in Ottawa found Canadian software engineer Momin Khawaja guilty of involvement in a plot to bomb nightclubs, trains, and a shopping center in the United Kingdom. Sentencing was scheduled for November 18; he faced life in prison.
October 29, 2008—Somalia—Shirwa Ahmed, 27, a Minneapolis-based Somali and naturalized U.S. citizen was believed to have gone to Somalia to conduct one of the October 29 suicide bombings in breakaway Somaliland and the Puntland region that killed more than twenty people. He blew himself up in a suicide bombing in northern Somalia. His attack was one of five simultaneous bombings that day attributed to al-Shabaab, which has al Qaeda links. The FBI returned his remains to his family in Minneapolis in late fall 2008. More than a dozen young Somalis had disappeared from the Minneapolis area around that time.
At least seven Somalis from Minneapolis were reported missing on November 4. One of them, a 17-year-old, reportedly took his passport with him and arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, the next day. He called his parents on November 6 to say that he was in Mogadishu, Somalia. He had not been heard from since November 27, 2008.
October 30, 2008—India—Eleven bombs exploded between 11:10 a.m. and noon in Assam, killing 61 and wounded 350. The first explosions went off in a fruit and vegetable market, in a parking lot, a bazaar, and near a rail station. Others went off in Guwahati, the state capital. Observers suspected the banned independence group United Front of Assam (ULFA), which denied involvement. Others suggested it was armed Islamists based in Bangladesh.
October 30, 2008—Afghanistan—Three individuals attacked the Ministry of Information and Culture in Kabul, killing five and seriously injuring twenty-one at 11:00 a.m. One individual shot two guards near the entrance before setting an explosives vest in a hall on the ground floor. The others, one dressed in an Afghan police uniform, went to separate parts of the building. One worker heard the sound of a Kalashnikov being fired. Authorities stopped a bomber from setting off his explosives vest. The third gunman remained at large two hours later. The Taliban said it was targeting foreign advisors working in the building. 08103001
October 31, 2008—Cameroon—A local militia group kidnapped ten mostly foreign oil workers and threatened to kill them if progress wasn’t made on setting up autonomy talks with the government. Ebi Dari, the militia’s commander, said that the group had grabbed six Frenchmen, two Cameroonians, one Senegalese, and one Tunisian from a boat off the coast. 08103101
October 31, 2008—Pakistan—Gunmen kidnapped Afghan businessman Zia ul–Haq Ahadi and brother of Afghan Finance Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi near his home in Hayatabad. 08103102
November 2008—Afghanistan—A Dutch journalist was kidnapped. He was freed on November 7 after about a week in captivity. 08119901
November 1, 2008—Afghanistan—Gunmen kidnapped Joanie de Rijke, who was working on a story for Belgium’s P magazine, outside Kabul. She was freed unharmed a week later. 08110101
November 3, 2008—Afghanistan—Gunmen kidnapped French aid worker Dany Egreteau, 32, in Kabul. They released a video of him pleading for his life. He was freed on December 3, 2008. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he was “doing well.” 08110301
November 5, 2008—Somalia—Gunmen ambushed a convoy in Dusa Marreb, 360 miles north of Mogadishu, as it was traveling to Kenya and took four European aid workers—two French citizens, a Belgian, and a Bulgarian working for the French group Action Against Hunger—and two Kenyans hostage. The hostages had been on their way to the airport. On August 11, 2009, the kidnappers released the four aid workers and two pilots. 08110501
November 6, 2008—Pakistan—A Taliban suicide bomber killed seventeen people and wounded forty others at a meeting of tribesmen hosted by an anti-insurgent militia. Another two people were killed in a separate suicide bombing.
November 6, 2008—Russia—A bomb exploded when a minibus taxi pulled up outside a market in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, killing eleven people.
November 10, 2008—Kenya—Somali gunmen kidnapped two Italian nuns in El Wak just before dawn on the Somalia-Kenya border. Caterina Giruado, 67, and Maria Teresa Olivero, 60, were freed unharmed on February 19, 2009. No ransom was paid. 08111001
November 10, 2008—Afghanistan—The Taliban kidnapped David Rohde, 41, a New York Times reporter, outside of Kabul, as he was en route to interview a Taliban commander in eastern Logar Province. He had arrived in Afghanistan earlier that month to work on a history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his reporting on the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, and was part of a NYT team that won a Pulitzer Prize in May 2009 for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2008. The NYT hired Boston-based American International Security Corporation (AISC), led by former CIA senior operations chief Duane Clarridge, to secure Rohde’s release.
A Taliban spokesman told CNN in May 2009 that it had provided two “proof of life” videos and had demanded negotiations for the release of its leaders in U.S. custody and a multi-million dollar ransom.
On June 19, 2009, Rohde and local reporter Tahir Ludin, 35, climbed over the wall of the compound where they were held in North Waziristan, Pakistan. A Pakistani military spokesman said that the Pakistan military was involved in freeing them, but did not provide details. The duo found a Pakistani army scout near Miran Shah, North Waziristan, who brought them to a local army base. Their driver, Asadullah Mangal, 24, did not escape. No ransom was paid and no prisoners were released.
Some forty news organizations, including al-Jazeera, had agreed to keep the story quiet until his release. 08111002
November 11, 2008—Iraq—U.S. forces killed Hammadi Awdah Abd Farhan, alias Hajji Hammadi, an al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) leader in a gun battle that began when they raided his safe house in western Baghdad’s Mansour neighborhood. He was behind several attacks, including the suicide bombing on June 26, 2008, that killed three U.S. Marines, two interpreters, and more than twenty Iraqis in Karmah. Among the dead was Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai of Pago Pago, American Samoa, commander of the U.S. Marines in the area. Farhan had videotaped the explosion. He was also behind the death of Army Reserve then–Pfc. Keith Matthew Maupin, 20, who was kidnapped on April 9, 2004, during an attack on his fuel convoy. Maupin’s remains were found in March 2008 in an agricultural area northwest of Baghdad. Farhan was the emir of AQI in the Karmah and Abu Ghraib areas west of Baghdad. He was also involved in several assassinations of Sons of Iraq (SOI) members in Baghdad; SOI is an organization of repentant AQI insurgents who now fight AQI. Five suspects were captured following the gun battle.
November 12, 2008—Pakistan—The Taliban was suspected when an Iranian diplomat was kidnapped on his way to work in Peshawar. His driver was shot. 08111201
November 12, 2008—Pakistan—American aid worker Stephen Vance, 52, and his driver were shot to death in Peshawar. He was working on an Agency for International Development project to bring economic development to the tribal region. Vance was leaving for work from his home in the University Town area. The California native had worked for the previous six months for the Silver Spring, Maryland-based Cooperative Housing Foundation International. Survivors included a wife and five children, who had lived with him in Mongolia, East Timor, and the former Soviet Union. The Pakistani Taliban took credit. 08111202
November 14, 2008—Pakistan—Gummen fired on a car in Peshawar carrying Japanese journalist Motoki Yotsukura of the daily Asahi Shimbun, wounding him in the leg. His Pakistani assistant was also injured. 08111401
November 14, 2008—Kosovo—A bomb was thrown at the building housing the office of the European Union’s special representative in Pristina, breaking windows and damaging cars. 08111402
November 17, 2008—France—Police arrested Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, alias Txeroki (Cherokee), a senior leader of the most violent faction of the Spanish Basque Nation and Liberty, and a girlfriend while they were sleeping in Cauterets, a Pyrenees ski resort. Rubina was believed behind a plot to kill Spanish King Juan Carlos and ordering the bombing of a parking lot in Spain.
November 19, 2008—Qatar—In an eleven-minute As-Sahab video posted on the Internet, al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri said to President-elect Barack Obama, “You have reached the position of president, and a heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits you. You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be a Christian, in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America.” He said Obama compared unfavorably with Malcolm X, saying, “As for Malik al-Shabazz (Malcolm X) … he condemned the crimes of the Crusader West against the weak and oppressed…. That’s why … Malik al-Shabazz … was killed.” He called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Obama “house Negros,” which refers to African Americans who kowtow to white interests. Al-Zawahiri called Obama’s election “an admission of defeat in Iraq…. If you still want to be stubborn about America’s failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and the British before them. And be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them.”
November 20, 2008—United States—U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that five of the six Algerians held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base must be released. He said the government had not proved that they were “enemy combatants.” The Algerians were arrested in Bosnia and held at the Naval Base since January 2002 on suspicion of planning to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. They were also accused of planning to go to Afghanistan to fight against the coalition. Judge Leon said that the evidence against them was flimsy and based on an unnamed source of indeterminate reliability who appeared in a classified document. However, he ordered that the government could continue to detain al Qaeda facilitator Belkacem Bensayah, as the evidence against him was based on corroborated intelligence. Bosnia had indicated that the men would be permitted to return. They were identified as Lakhdar Boumediene, Mohamed Nechle, Mustafa Ait Idir, Hadj Boudella, and Saber Lahmar.
November 20, 2008—Thailand—A bomb exploded at 3:30 a.m. at Government House, the prime minister’s office complex in Bangkok, which antigovernment People’s Alliance for Democracy demonstrators had occupied since late August. A 48-year-old man was killed and twenty-three others injured when the explosive went off on the canvas of a large marquee and sprayed shrapnel on those sleeping below. Police believed a grenade was involved. The protestors rejected negotiations saying they would continue their action until the government collapsed.
November 22, 2008—Pakistan—Rashid Rauf, a British Pakistani citizen who was involved in an al Qaeda plot to blow up ten British planes in 2006, was killed in a missile strike in Ali Khel in North Waziristan. Four other suspected terrorists, including three foreigners, were also killed.
November 24, 2008—United States—A federal jury in Dallas convicted five former leaders of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which had been the largest Muslim charity in the United States, of 108 criminal charges. The case began with a raid in December 2001 on the HLF headquarters in Richardson, Texas, when federal authorities seized HLF assets. The group had been accused of sending more than $12 million to Hamas. The case had originally listed more than one hundred unindicted co-conspirators.
November 26, 2008—United States—The FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned state and local officials that “uncorroborated but plausible information” received in late September indicated that al Qaeda might have discussed attacking New York City transit systems. DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said, “Neither DHS nor FBI has any specific information to confirm that this plot has developed beyond aspiration planning.” Authorities in New York, Washington, and five other major cities with subway systems were considering increasing police presence.
November 26, 2008—Afghanistan—A suicide car bomb exploded 200 yards away from the main entrance to the U.S. Embassy. One person was killed and six wounded in the attack against a U.S. convoy. The embassy was hosting a Thanksgiving Day footrace.
November 26–28, 2008—India—At 9:00 p.m., at least ten college-aged male terrorists in two rubber dinghies traveled from a hijacked ship off shore and landed in Mumbai, where they went to ten public facilities and set off explosives and fired automatic weapons. In the attacks and ensuing battles with Indian commandoes attempting to rescue several dozen Indian and Western hostages, at least 200 people were killed—including 22 foreigners, among them 6 Americans, a Briton, an Australian, a German, an Italian, and a Japanese—and 9 of the terrorists, and another 350 people were wounded, including 2 Canadians. Indian authorities expected these figures to increase as more bodies were discovered.
Reports differed as to the number of terrorists in the attack party, the number who survived, and their affiliations. The previously unknown Deccan Mujahideen claimed credit via an e-mail to India’s news media. Indian authorities said that the two surviving terrorists were British citizens of Pakistani descent. They were being interrogated regarding the identities of the other terrorists, what groups were involved, and whether Pakistan was involved. Other reports said only one terrorist—a Lashkar-i-Taiba “foot soldier” from Pakistan’s Punjab area—survived. Yet another report said three terrorists were detained. Conducting simultaneous attacks is an al Qaeda hallmark, but al Qaeda does not take hostages. Some observers suggested the involvement of Lashkar-i-Taiba (“Army of the Pious”) and Jaish-i-Muhammad (“Soldiers of Muhammad”), two Muslim extremist groups in Pakistan. Others saw a Kashmiri separatist connection.
Sources varied regarding the number of terrorists involved. Initial reports suggested fifteen; later reports said only ten.
Police later determined that the terrorists had hijacked a ship named the Kuber, shot the man in charge, and steamed to Mumbai. The terrorists were carrying photographs of the sites to be attacked. Some had lived in Mumbai a few months earlier, pretending to be students while surveilling the sites.
The gunmen set off explosives at the sites to give the impression that there were far more attackers involved. The sites included facilities in an affluent southern section of Mumbai, the heart of its financial district:
• Leopold Café, which the terrorists shot up first, at 9:30 p.m., before moving on to the Taj. The restaurant is frequented by tourists. Seven people, including three foreigners, died.
• Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus railway station, which two gunmen attacked at 10:00 p.m., killing forty-eight people and wounding many more in a twenty-minute attack. Shashank Shinde, 46, was killed while he was patrolling the station and attempted to tackle the assault rifle-wielding terrorists. Upon leaving, the terrorists fired at the Times of India and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai buildings. The two terrorists took over a police vehicle by killing three officers and wounding a fourth. The police officers had been responding to a call from the Cama Hospital. The lone survivor was police constable Arun Jadhav, who played dead.
• Metro movie theater, which was attacked at 10:30 p.m. by the two railway gunmen, who arrived by the hijacked police vehicle. They threw grenades and fired at passengers and pedestrians, killing ten and injuring thirty. The terrorists returned to their car and drove along Mahatma Gandhi Road, past the Bombay Stock Exchange, on their way to the Taj Hotel. But police intercepted them at Chowpatty, a beach on the city’s far west side. Police killed one gunman and arrested Azam Amir Kasab, 21, a Pakistani.
• Thirty-six-floor Oberoi Trident Hotel, where at least twenty-four people were killed in an initial attack at 10:15 p.m. Indian authorities said they had killed two gunmen at the site. Among the dead were former University of Maryland art professor Alan Scherr, 58, and his daughter, Naomi, 13, of central Virginia’s Nelson County, who were shot execution-style. They were visiting India with the Synchronicity Foundation, a Virginia-based meditation group. At 10:40 a.m. on November 28, India’s National Security Guard killed two gunmen. By midnight of November 28, police had found forty-one dead bodies. At least ninety-eight hostages had been rescued. Among the injured hostages was Linda Ragsdale, a children’s book illustrator from Nashville, who was with Synchronicity. A bullet had grazed her spine. Two other Synchronicity members were wounded. American Andreina Varagona was shot in the shoulder. Subash Waghela was hit in the abdomen and left hand; he died later that day.
• Waterfront landmark Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, which at least three terrorists attacked at 10:15 p.m. The terrorists fired on diners at the Sea Lounge restaurant, aiming at tourists. Its 105-year-old Moorish-style rooftop dome was engulfed in flames and smoke. The terrorists knocked on doors of the 565-room hotel, calling for American and British citizens to come out. Some 250 guests, including Americans, Europeans, and South Koreans, took cover on the rooftop, where they were trapped for four hours. Commandoes began a rescue operation at 4:30 a.m. Seven hours after the attack began firefighters rescued more than fifty hotel guests. Authorities secured the fire exit, and the rest of the hostages fled down the stairs and through windows. A running gun battle ensued. At 2:30 a.m. on November 28, Indian Marine commandoes entered the building, where they saw more than thirty bodies and several wounded people. At least ten members of the kitchen staff were killed, including Vijay Rao Banja, father of two and a senior chef. Among the dead was Sabina Sehgal Saikia, an editor with the Times of India newspaper, who died in her room on the fifth floor of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel.
After a sixty-hour siege, one wing of the hotel was gutted. At least eleven commandoes died in the gunfire. Among them was Hemant Karkare, chief of Mumbai’s counterterrorism squad. The commandoes killed four terrorists, but one remained hiding. Four hundred hostages were freed. Police later captured the last terrorist. Authorities found backpacks filled with ammunition and grenades, credit cards from several banks, and an identity card from Mauritius. Among the injured was Commando Rajveer Singh, 33, who sustained a gunshot wound to his left hand and severe burns on his face when a gunman in room 471 resisted arrest. Also injured was Rangoli Garg, 18, who sustained a leg wound.
• Cama and Albless Hospital, which the terrorists attacked between 10:45 and 11:15 p.m. Two terrorists were captured after they hijacked a police van to escape from the hospital. Three hospital workers and two police officers died.
• Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, which the terrorists attacked between 10:45 and 11:15 p.m.
• Mazegaon Dockyard was the scene of a midnight bombing.
• Nariman House, a business and residential complex, where at 4:30 a.m. on November 27, the terrorists took hostages at the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center, including eight Israelis and an American rabbi and his wife. Later that day, commandoes surrounded the facility. The terrorists killed U.S. citizen Rabbi Gavriel N. Holtzberg, 29, and his wife, Rivka, 28, both of whom were born in Israel and were raised in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Three other hostages—U.S. citizen Leibish Teitlebaumat; dual national American-Israeli Bentzion Chroman; and an unidentified Israeli woman—also died at the center. At 11:30 a.m. on November 28, commandoes airlifted to the building’s roof and dropped smoke bombs. By 7:00 p.m. fighting was over and one commando had died. Haresh Gohil, a civilian, was killed near the center. Sandra Samuel, a cook, rescued Moshe Holtzberg, almost 2, from the center.
• Northern district’s Ramada Hotel and the Vile Parle.
Police later seized the explosives-laden mothership. At least fifteen police officers died in the attacks, as well as Balasaheb Bhosale, a police official who tried to stop a gunman at a rail station.
Surviving terrorist Azam Amir Kasab said that the terrorist group members had trained for a year before the attack at a Lashkar camp in Pakistan. He admitted membership in Lashkar, renamed Jamaat-ud-Dawa in 2005. He claimed the group staged from Karachi, Pakistan. The terrorists killed the crew of a fishing trawler, slitting the throat of the captain, killing the four other crew members, and dumping their bodies over the side. They then took a speedboat and a rubber dinghy to the shoreline. They split up into four teams, some hailing two taxis to get to their first targets.
On November 30, government officials said the official casualty numbers were 174 people dead and 239 wounded. Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigned.
The gunmen had used several electronic devices to keep in touch with each other and monitor media coverage and police plans. They used Global Positioning System equipment, carried CDs with high-resolution satellite images, and switched SIM cards (subscriber identity cards) in multiple cell phones.
Authorities said a third of the victims were Muslims. Indian Muslim leaders refused to permit the nine dead terrorists to be buried in Muslim cemeteries.
Indian police charged Tauseef Rehman, 28, of Calcutta, and Mukhtar Ahmed Sheik, 35, from Jammu and Kashmir, with fraud and conspiracy for using a false ID card to buy twenty-two SIMs that were used by the terrorists during the attacks. Ahmed allegedly was a member of an irregular Jammu and Kashmir police force who was working undercover to penetrate Lashkar-e-Taiba. Police also hoped to question Faheem Ahmed Ansari, a Mumbai native, who had been arrested in February for an attack on a police training camp in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. He had claimed to have surveilled targets for another Lashkar-e-Taiba plan.
Police said Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders Zaki ur–Rehman Lakhvi, variant Lakhwi, and Yusuf Muzammil, directed the Mumbai attacks. India requested their extradition, as well as that of Hafiz Sayeed, Lashkar’s alleged leader.
Kasab claimed he had trained at four Lashkar camps near Muzzafrabad, Mansera, Muritke, and Karachi during the previous nine to twelve months. Police said he would be charged on twelve counts of murder, criminal conspiracy, and waging war against the state. As of Christmas, although he was held on twelve charges, he was not yet formally charged and was ordered by a judge to remain in police custody for two more weeks.
Police identified one of the dead terrorists as Abu Ismail and the commando who was killed defending Indian civilians as Sandeep Unnikrishnan. Nashville residents Rudrani Devi and Linda Ragsdale were hospitalized for more than a week. Canadians Helen Connolly and Michael Rudder were expected to recover from their injuries.
On December 8, Pakistani authorities raided a Lashkar camp in Muzzafrabad, arresting twenty-two individuals, including Lakhvi, believed to be behind the Mumbai attacks.
Police said that nine of the gunmen came from central Punjab Province of Pakistan. Three came from Okara, three from Multan, two from Faisalabad, one from Sialkot, and Ismail Khan, 26, the group’s leader, from northwest Pakistan’s Dera Ismail Khan city. They identified the attackers as Ajmal Amir from Faridkot, Abu Ismail from Dera Ismail Khan, Hafiz Arshad and Babr Imran from Multan, Javed from Okara, Shoaib from Narowal, Nazih and Nasr from Faisalabad, Abdul Rahman from Arifwalla, and Fahad Ullah (or Fahadullah) from Dipalpur Taluka. All were between the ages of 20 and 28.
On December 9, Pakistani police placed Jaish-i-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar under house arrest. He had been under house arrest in connection with the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament but was never charged and was freed eleven months later.
On December 12, Pakistan banned the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the United States had earlier designated as a Lashkar front group, and put Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s founder Hafiz Sayeed under house arrest.
Indian police were investigating the possible roles of Indian nationals in the attack. Sabauddin Ahmed, 29, might have provided safe houses and brought the terrorists across the border. He had been arrested earlier in 2008 in connection with a grenade attack on a police camp.
Terrorist Shadullah phoned Indian television from room 1856 of the Oberoi Trident Hotel to say, “We demand the release of all mujahideen put in jails. Then will we release these people. Otherwise, we will destroy this place…. You must have seen what’s happening here…. Release them, and we, the Muslims who live in India, should not be harassed…. Things like demolition of Babri Masjid and killings should stop.”
Terrorist Imran Babar phoned an Indian television station during the attack on the Jewish facility, citing the 2002 riots in Gujarat that killed more than one thousand people, the 1992 destruction of the centuries-old Babri mosque by Hindu mobs, and India’s control over part of Kashmir. “Are you aware of how many people have been killed in Kashmir? Are you aware of how your army has killed Muslims? We die every day. It’s better to win one day as a lion than die this way…. You call their [Israeli] army staff to visit Kashmir. Who are they to come to J and K? [Jammu and Kashmir] This is a matter between us and the Hindus, the Hindu government. Why does Israel come here?”
Pakistani authorities said on December 31, 2008, that Lashkar-e-Taiba detainee Zarar Shah had confessed to involvement. India said he was involved in the planning of the attacks.
On February 12, 2009, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a news conference in Islamabad that “some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan.” Six of the Mumbai conspirators, including Lashkar-i-Taiba senior member Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, had been arrested and were held in local custody. Two other suspects were at large. The surviving gunman, a Pakistani, was in Indian custody. He said that all of the accused would be tried in Pakistan. He noted that “the Internet phone calls between the terrorists were set up by a militant operating from Barcelona, who was later lured to Pakistan on a pretext and arrested.” An individual sent $238 from a Spanish account to register a domain name registered in Houston; another domain name was registered in Russia. A satellite phone the terrorists had used was registered “in a Middle Eastern country.” The conspirators used Austrian SIM cards to transfer data between the phones. Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency officials traced the registration of one of the three phones to a shop, whose owner identified the bank account of Hamad Ameen Sadiq, the “main operator” of the conspiracy.
On February 25, 2009, India charged surviving terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab with thirteen crimes, including murder, “waging war against India,” and entering a train station without a ticket. He faced the death penalty. Two unnamed Pakistani Army officials accused of training the gunmen were also charged. Indian citizens Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin were accused of providing maps for the attacks. The charge sheet ran to 11,280 pages, citing more than two thousand witnesses, and named thirty-seven others alleged to have planned the attacks.
On April 15, 2009, trial judge M.L. Tahiliyani barred Ajmal Amir Kasab’s attorney from representing him because of a conflict of interest, moments before the trial was to open in a special court set up inside a Mumbai prison. New defense attorney Abbas Kazmi Kasab in his opening statement withdrew Kasab’s February confession, which he claimed was signed under duress. He also claimed Kasab was under 17 and should be tried in a juvenile court. Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said Kasab had said three times that he was 21. The judge rejected the defense’s motion. On April 24, Judge M. L. Tahiliyani ruled that a radiologist and a forensic dentist would examine Kasab to determine whether he was a minor to be tried in a juvenile court.
Indian authorities announced on April 28, 2009, that medical tests, including a dental exam and bone-density scans, conducted on Ajmal Amir Kasab indicated that he was more than 20 years old. He had claimed that he was younger than 17 at the time of the attacks. On May 6, 2009, he pleaded not guilty to eighty-six charges, including murder and waging war against India. He faced the death penalty.
On June 2, 2009, the Lahore High Court in Pakistan ruled that there was insufficient evidence to hold Hafiz Sayeed, 59, leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and founder of the Lashkar-i-Taiba group, under house arrest. The latter group was believed to be behind the Mumbai attacks. Jamaat was banned but reemerged under the name Falah-i-Insaniat. India had charged him in absentia; there were no charges against him in Pakistan.
During his trial, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab testified on July 20, 2009, that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Pakistani head of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, had plotted the attacks. He pleaded guilty to all eighty-six charges and said that he was “ready to die.” Kasab had withdrawn an earlier confession. He was represented by defense attorney Abbas Kazmi, who was surprised by the plea. Kasab said he trained in Lashkar camps in Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, and in Manshera in the northwest.
Pakistani authorities arrested two more suspected planners of the attack on August 29, 2009, bringing the total in custody to seven.
Pakistan, on September 21, 2009, placed cleric Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, head of Jamaat-ud Dawa, which is believed to be the front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, under house arrest in connection with the case. He had been charged with making hate speeches against the state and holding illegal gatherings. The government had said that it would charge seven suspects. On October 12, 2009, a court in Lahore dropped criminal charges against Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, whom Indian said had masterminded the Mumbai siege. The court dismissed the charges for lack of evidence. Saeed was the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was represented by attorney A. K. Dogar.
On November 25, 2009, a court in Rawalpindi, Pakistan charged seven individuals with acts of terrorism, money laundering, supplying funds for terrorism, and providing tools for terrorism. All pleaded not guilty. They all faced the death penalty. They were identified as mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Umar Abjul Wajid, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jameel Ahmed, Mohammad Younas Anjum, Mazhar Iqbal, and Hammad Amin Sadiq. Jameel Ahmed was represented by attorney Alyas Saddiqi. An HBO documentary in November 2009 reported that the terrorists had called themselves the Army of the Righteous.
On December 9, 2009, U.S. citizen David Coleman Headley was charged in Chicago with helping the Mumbai attackers, videotaping targets—including the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the Leopold Café, the Jewish outreach center, and the train station—and briefing the attackers. He even took boat trips to scout out the town’s main harbor; a trip the terrorists later followed in the operation. He surveilled the National Defense College in Delhi in March 2009. He pleaded not guilty to nine felony counts in the Mumbai attack and three other counts for plotting an attack on the Danish newspaper that in 2005 ran the Muhammad cartoons. The charges included providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to bomb public places, and aiding and abetting the murder of six U.S. nationals. He faced the death penalty. He waived his right to a grand jury indictment. He was represented by defense attorney John Theis. India was expected to request extradition. Prosecutors said Tahawwur Hussain Rana had asked Headley to congratulate the killers.
In 1998, Headley was convicted of and sentenced to fifteen months for conspiring to smuggle Pakistani heroin into the United States.
On December 18, 2009, lone surviving terrorist Ajmal recanted his confession, saying he was a mere tourist who was arrested three weeks before the attack and was tortured into the confession. The next day, the HBO documentary Terror in Mumbai reported that Ajmal had been sold to the terrorists three months before the attack by his father so that his brothers and sisters could marry.
On January 14, 2010, Tahawwur Rana and David Coleman Headley were charged in a twelve-count indictment on charges of planning a violent attack on Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten and helping in the Mumbai attack. They remained in federal custody in Chicago. The indictment also charged retired Pakistani military officer Abdur Rehman Hashin Syed and terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri. Headley was represented by attorney John Theis. Rana was represented by Patrick Blegen. Headley faced twelve counts, including six of conspiracy to murder and maim people in India and provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He faced the death penalty. Rana was charged with three counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and faced life in prison. Kashmiri and Abdur Rehman were charged with conspiracy to murder and maim people in Denmark and faced the death penalty.
During his trial on January 18, 2010, lone surviving gunman Mohammed Ajmal Kasab told the court that four of the gunmen were Indian, despite government claims that all of the terrorists were Pakistanis. One was from Indian-administered Kashmir, one from Gujarat, and two others from Mumbai. He had withdrawn his confession in December 2009.
On February 11, 2010, Shahid Azmi, attorney of Fahim Ansari, an Indian who had been accused of aiding the Mumbai terrorists, was shot to death near his home in the Mumbai suburbs.
On March 18, 2010, David Coleman Headley pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago to charges that he had scouted the targets for the Mumbai attack and a planned attack against a Danish newspaper in which suicide bombers would attempt to kill everyone in the building. He also scouted targets in Pune and Goa. He specifically pleaded guilty to twelve counts of conspiring to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim people in India and Denmark, to provide material support to foreign terrorist plots and to provide material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, and to aiding and abetting the murder of U.S. citizens in India. At-large Ilyas Kashmiri told him that the Danish attackers should behead captives and throw the heads out of the office. Headley agreed to testify against co-defendant Tahawwur Hussain Rana. The Department of Justice agreed not to seek the death penalty against Headley. The United States said Indian investigators would be given access to Headley, but he would not be extradited to India, Pakistan, or Denmark. India demanded unfettered access. The plea agreement indicated that he had been put in contact with an al Qaeda cell in Europe.
On May 3, 2010, a Mumbai court issued a 1,522-page verdict that convicted Ajmal Amir Kasab of “waging war on India.” He had been convicted of most of the eighty-six counts against him, including murder, arms smuggling, and conspiracy. He and an accomplice gunned down 58 people and wounded 104 others at the train station. The next day, he was sentenced to death. His attorney, K. P. Pawar, had requested life in prison. At least 610 witnesses had testified during his trial. Judge M. L. Tahiliyani acquitted two Indians of helping plot the attacks; the prosecutor said he would appeal the acquittals. India had charged 38 people in the case.
On May 25, 2010, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that Hafiz Sayeed, a founder of Lashkar-i-Taiba, should remain free because the government did not have enough evidence to imprison him. The government had requested reversal of lower court decisions to release him from house arrest.
On February 21, 2011, the Mumbai High Court upheld Kasab’s death sentence and the acquittals on charges of conspiracy of Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed for a lack of “corroborative” evidence.
On April 25, 2011, prosecutors in the U.S. District Court in Chicago charged four Pakistanis—Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal, and Maj. Iqbal—in a superseding indictment with aiding and abetting the murder of U.S. citizens in India, conspiracy to murder and maim, and providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba in connection with the Mumbai attack. Mir, Qahafa, and Mazhar Iqbal were also charged with conspiracy to bomb public places. None of them were in U.S. custody. David Coleman Headley claimed that Maj. Iqbal was a member of Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Prosecutors said Mir was Headley’s handler; Qahafa trained others in combat techniques, and Mazhar Iqbal was a Lashkar commander who passed messages to Headley via defendant Tahawwur Rana.
On May 23, 2011, David Coleman Headley told the Chicago court in the terrorism trial of Tahawwur Rana that the ISI recruited him and played a key role in the Mumbai attacks. He told the court that “ISI provided assistance to Lashkar: financial, military and moral support.” He said that ISI Maj. Iqbal chose the targets—including the Chabad House—the route, and a safe house, and that Iqbal was also involved in the plot to attack Jyllands-Posten in Denmark.
On June 21, 2012, police arrested Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari at New Delhi airport as he arrived from Saudi Arabia. He was suspected of facilitating the attack. An international arrest warrant was issued for him in 2009. Police believed his voice was heard in the Pakistan control room guiding the Mumbai killers. He was heard saying in Hindi on a tape “This is just a trailer, the entire movie is yet to come.” Police said he had lived in Saudi Arabia for the past two years and was “talent-spotting” for another “massive attack” in India. He had been deported from Saudi Arabia. On June 27, Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said that Ansari confirmed Pakistani state support for the attacks, saying two ISI agents were among the five people in the terrorist control room with Ansari during the attack.
The High Court of Mumbai upheld Mohammed Ajmal Kasab’s conviction and sentence in February 2011. On August 29, 2012, the Indian Supreme Court upheld his death sentence. On November 21, 2012, India hanged Kasab at Yerwada Jail in Pune. On November 29, 2012, the Pakistani Taliban threatened to attack India in retaliation for the execution.
On January 24, 2013, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber in a federal court in Chicago sentenced David Headley to thirty-five years in prison. 08112601-10
November 26, 2008—Qatar—Al Qaeda’s propaganda arm released on the Internet another video interview of Ayman al-Zawahiri, who did not mention the Mumbai attacks.
November 26, 2008—Somalia—Pirates kidnapped British journalist Colin Freeman and Spanish photojournalist Jose Cendon, both working for London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, in Bosasso. They were freed on January 4, 2009. The two Somali journalists who were kidnapped with them were unaccounted for. 08112611
November 26, 2008—Afghanistan—Dawa Khan Menapal of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and local television reporter Aziz Popal, both Afghan journalists, were kidnapped in Ghazni Province but released three days later. 08112612
November 30, 2008—Iraq—A bomb destroyed the National Public Radio armored car in Iraq. The bomb, which was attached to the car, caused no injuries to Ivan Watson, 33, the U.S. reporter working for NPR and three Iraqi colleagues—producer and translator Ali Hamdani and two drivers. Iraqi soldiers arrested an egg vendor thought to have family links to an al Qaeda in Iraq member. 08113001
December 2008—Nigeria—Two Russian expatriates were kidnapped by gunmen in the Niger Delta. The duo escaped from their captors in mid–February 2009. After wandering for several days, they were rescued by Nigerian soldiers. 08129901
December 3, 2008—India—Authorities found a bag containing 20 pounds of explosives at the Mumbai train station that had been attacked on November 26. Police did not know if it was left during the attack.
December 8, 2008—Spain—French police arrested three Basque Nation and Liberty members, including Aitzol Iriondo Yarza, 30, believed to be the new military leader of the group following the November arrest in France of Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, alias Txeroki.
December 8, 2008—United States—At a pretrial hearing for the 9/11 defendants at Guantanamo Bay, five of the defendants offered to plead guilty to murder and war crimes, but withdrew the offer when the judge said it might undercut their preference for a death penalty. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Tawfiq bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, and Ammar al-Baluchi, alias Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, wanted to be viewed as martyrs by being executed. The Pentagon charge sheet, released in May, accused them of “conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, terrorism, and providing material support for terrorism.”
December 10, 2008—Mexico—Gunmen kidnapped Miami-based Felix Batista, 55, an American anti-kidnapping negotiator. He apparently knew the kidnappers, embracing one (according to video surveillance) before getting into their white sport utility vehicle, which drove away. He was a consultant for the Houston-based consulting firm ASI Global and had resolved nearly one hundred kidnapping cases in Latin America. He had stepped out to take a cell phone call at the El Principal restaurant in Saltillo. He had met with Mexican business executives regarding anti-kidnap measures. He had been in the K&R (kidnap and ransom) industry for more than twenty years. Mexican research firms said there are five hundred kidnappings per month in the country. Some officials at the state attorney general’s office said that Batista had met with Jose Pilar Valdez, owner of a local security firm, who had been kidnapped hours earlier. 08121001
December 11, 2008—Belgium—Belgian police detained fourteen people of Moroccan descent with links to a Belgian al Qaeda cell that might have been planning an attack at a European summit meeting in Brussels. Police conducted overnight raids at sixteen locations in Brussels and Liege, seizing computer equipment. A federal prosecutor said one of the detainees “was possibly planning a suicide attack,” but the location was unknown. A detainee had made a farewell video. Three of the detainees had been to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The next day, a Belgian magistrate ordered the continuation of the custody of six Belgian citizens who were among the fourteen detainees, including Malika el-Aroud, widow of Abdessater Dahmane, one of the two men who killed Ahmed Shah Massoud, head of the anti–Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan on September 9, 2001. She had posted Islamist propaganda on the Internet. Belgian police called her “an al Qaeda living legend.” Her current husband was also arrested.
On December 15, a French citizen of Tunisian origin was charged with illegal association “related to a terrorist enterprise. He had been arrested in Grenoble, France. He was believed to have assisted in running the Minbar Web site, which Belgian authorities said was an Islamic propaganda outlet.
December 14, 2008—Niger—Robert Fowler, a former Canadian diplomat now serving as the UN’s special envoy to Niger, was reported missing. The vehicle in which he, an aide, and their driver were traveling was found abandoned 30 miles northeast of Niamey. On February 18, 2009, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed it was holding Fowler and his aide, Louis Guay, both Canadians, as well as four Western European tourists who were kidnapped on January 22, 2009. Abu Mohammed, the group’s spokesman, told al-Jazeera, “We announce to the general public that the mujahideen reserve the right to deal with the six kidnapped according to Islamic sharia law.” They were freed on April 22, 2009. Canada denied paying a ransom. AQIM’s Omar Ould Hamaha was involved in the kidnapping. Fowler wrote a memoir, A Season in Hell: My 130 Days in the Sahara with al Qaeda. He said the kidnappers took possession of his car in “a slick, violent, well-coordinated and impeccably executed grab.” He was fed bowls of rice, slept on the sand, and was frequently moved. Fowler said of his kidnappers, “There’s no doubt of their faith: They would sit chanting in the full Sahara sun for hour after hour…. They are realists in the sense that they understand realpolitik. They understand pressure on governments.” Moustapha Chafi, an adviser to several governments in the region, was involved in negotiations for Fowler’s release. 08121401
December 16, 2008—France—Paris police found five sticks of old dynamite in the Printemps department store near the Gare St. Lazare train station. No detonator was attached to the dynamite. An unknown group had warned that the bombs had been placed and said it would conduct other attacks if France did not withdraw its soldiers from Afghanistan. In a French-language note sent to Agence France Press, the Afghan Revolutionary Front said, “Get this message to your president of the republic so he withdraws these troops from Afghanistan before the end of February 2009. Otherwise, we will be in action again in your capitalist department stores, and this time without warning.” The note specified where the dynamite could be found. On December 10, a caller to Le Monde had made similar threats. 08121601
December 19, 2008—Greece—Masked youths threw firebombs at the French Institute in Athens. 08121901
December 20–21, 2008—India—Police in Kashmir arrested three Pakistani men who were planning to drive a bomb-laden vehicle into a building in India.
December 28, 2008—Pakistan—A suicide bomber killed thirty-four people at a polling station near the Swat Valley. He had pretended he was having car trouble and asked the victims to push it before he set off the explosives.
December 29, 2008—United States—A letter addressed to President-elect Barack Obama arrived at the State Revenue Department building in Springfield, Illinois. It contained the HIV-infected blood of Ethiopian refugee Saad Hussein, 27, who had included his Chicago return address. He said this “was his way of seeking help from the government.”
December 31, 2008—Denmark—Two Israeli citizens were injured in a shopping mall shooting in Odense, on the island of Fyn. One was hit in the hand; the other in the leg. Their injuries were not life-threatening. The motive was a mystery. On January 1, 2009, Danish police arrested a Lebanese-born Danish citizen of Palestinian descent on suspicion of shooting the two Israelis. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted murder. 08123101
December 31, 2008—Spain—An hour after the Basque Nation and Liberty phoned a warning, a car bomb exploded outside the Basque-run EiTB regional television station in Bilbao at 11:00 a.m. Five hundred people had evacuated the building. One person suffered an ear injury. The TV station remained on the air. Police found the vehicle’s owner tied to a tree in the woods outside Bilbao.