Sunday, October 31, 2010

Al Qaeda Targeted Synagogues In Mail Bomb Attempt

Though much is still unclear about the targets, information is coming out about the attempt by Al Qaeda in Yemen to send mail bombs to synagogues in the US:
The 22-year-old woman, named locally as Hanan al Samawi, was traced through a phone number left with a cargo company. Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, said the information that identified her was provided by the US and the United Arab Emirates.

She was arrested at a house in a poor area in the west of Sana'a, where she is studying medicine at the university. Her mother was also arrested, but is not a prime suspect according to her lawyer.

...US and British security officials believe Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born figurehead of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was behind the foiled attack in which two ink cartridge bombs, posted in Yemen, were intercepted in Britain and Dubai on the way to America.

...In Sana'a, authorities were also questioning cargo workers at the airport and employees of shipping companies contracted to work with the freight companies FedEx and UPS.

While the devices were addressed to synagogues in Chicago, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was the first to announce that the target for the bombs could have been the planes.

One of those synagogues that was apparently targeted by al Qaeda, found out the news Friday night:
About two dozen members of the Congregation Or Chadash were enjoying their usual Friday evening dinner before services at their Edgewater neighborhood headquarters when they got the startling news that they were apparently the target of an international terrorist plot.

The small congregation for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual Jews that started with an alternative newspaper ad in 1976 had gotten used to a life of relative obscurity — too small with about 100 members to afford its own building or build much of a profile.

How a terrorist in Yemen who'd rigged printer cartridges with explosives would know who and where they are sparked as much puzzlement as fear, congregants said Saturday.
Haaretz writes that there are 3 conclusions we can reach based on the attack:
Three conclusions can be drawn from the attempted attacks of the past week. Radical Islamist terrorism changes shape, but it doesn't disappear. International intelligence cooperation is increasing - the information that undermined these attacks came from Saudi Arabia and was shared with Dubai, the United States and Britain.

Second, it would appear that just as the fundamentalists are setting up terrorism networks, intelligence communities around the globe are establishing counter-networks of agents, informers, handlers and technology.

The third lesson is that although Israel and Jewish targets are not the terror networks' main focus, attacking Jews remains a guiding motivation.
The war on terror continues--but will we begin to call it by its name or claim that creating a second Palestinian state is the solution?

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