SHUKRIJUMAH REEMERGED IN PAKISTAN
USA counterterrorism officials have linked one of the nation’s most wanted terrorists. Adnan El Shukrijumah, to last year’s thwarted Zazi Plot to bomb the New York City subway system, authorities said, on Wednesday 06/30/2010.
Current and former counterterrorism officials said Adnan El Shukrijumah met with one of the would-be suicide bombers in a plot that Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the most dangerous since The 9/11 terror attacks.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have named Adnan El Shukrijumah in a draft terrorism indictment but on Wednesday the Justice Department was still discussing whether to cite his role. Some officials feared that the extra attention might hinder efforts to capture him (see also – Terror Epicenter).
Adnan El Shukrijumah’s involvement shows how important the subway bombing plot was to Al Qaeda senior leadership. Intelligence officials believe Shukrijumah is one of the top candidates to become Al Qaeda’s next head of external operations, the man in charge of planning attacks worldwide.
Intelligence officials began unraveling the subway plot last year, when USA intelligence intercepted an e-mail from an account that Al Qaeda had used in a recent terrorist plot, officials said. The e-mail discussed bomb-making techniques and was sent to an address in Denver, setting off alarms within the CIA and FBI from Islamabad to the USA (see also – Chat-Room).
A fourth suspect, a midlevel Al Qaeda operative known as Ahmed, traded the e-mails with Najibullah Zazi, who was frantically trying to perfect his bomb making recipe, officials said. The USA wants to bring the Pakistani man to the USA for trial on charges that are not yet public. The CIA learned valuable information about Al Qaeda and its operations from Ahmed.
Pakistani officials also have arrested a fifth person, known as Afridi, who worked with Ahmed, officials said (see – PK Arrest 04.12.10).
The meeting with Shukrijumah is among many new details officials told The Associated Press about how the men hooked up with Al Qaeda. The new account provides a rare glimpse into Al Qaeda’s recruiting process.
The trio’s lengthy odyssey took them from their homes in Queens to the mountainous, lawless frontier in northwest Pakistan, the front line of the USA war on terrorism.
Prosecutors have said the men, motivated by their anger at the USA war in Afghanistan, traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan, in the summer of 2008 to fight against USA forces.
The men stayed at the house of Zazi’s uncle before splitting up, officials told the AP. Zazi remained in Peshawar while Ahmedzay and Medunjanin headed into Afghanistan to a Taliban stronghold where they hoped to join the fight against the Americans, officials said (see – Adis and Zarein).
But Ahmedzay and Medunjanin never made it. They were stopped at a roadblock and briefly detained by Pakistani police who were suspicious of the Ahmedzay’s Western looks and their USA passports. The two men talked their way out of the bind, however, and Pakistani police never contacted the USA about it, officials said.
Undeterred, the men regrouped in Peshawar and were recruited to meet an Al Qaeda facilitator at local mosque in Peshawar. While Al Qaeda was eager to recruit Americans, the group was also deeply suspicious of the trio and wanted to make sure they were not USA spies.
Once they passed that initial test, Ahmed drove them to North Waziristan and delivered them to a rudimentary terrorist camp. The three received weapons training, but Al Qaeda had bigger plans for the men than the Afghanistan front line.
Saleh al-Somali, then the head of external operations, and Rashid Rauf, a British militant linked to a 2006 Atlantic Airliners Plot, explained to the three men that they were more useful as suicide bombers in the United States. Saleh al-Somali was killed, on 12/09/2009, in a USA UAV missile attack in Northe-West Pakistan, FATA Region near Janikhel.
It was at that camp that counterterrorism officials believe Ahmedzay, and perhaps the other two men, met Adnan El Shukrijumah, one of Al Qaeda’s up-and-coming figures.
The trio completed about two weeks of training and left the camp with the promise of returning. But only Najibullah Zazi made the trip back to the Waziristan to take a course on explosives.
Zazi flew to New York in early 2009 and moved to Denver, armed with bomb-making notes from Pakistan. Unlike The 9/11, attacks they chose the target, not Osama Bin Laden.
The alleged leader of Al Qaeda in UK, Abid Nasser, has been arrested in Manchester, on Wednesday 07/07/2010, after the USA issued a warrant for his arrest, related to the Zazi Plot in New York, in 09/2009. Three of Abid Nasser associates were arrested in Norway, on Thursday 07/08/2010 (see – Norwegian Arrests).
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