Mumbai-type terror attacks on US cities: FBI

Extremists “with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons” to sow terror, raising the spectre that the Mumbai attacks could embolden terrorists seeking to attack US cities, warned the top US investigation agency FBI.

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is expanding its focus beyond al-Qaeda and into splinter groups, radicals who try to enter the country through the visa waiver programme and “home-grown terrorists,” FBI Director Robert S Mueller said at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on Monday.

 

“The universe of crime and terrorism stretches out infinitely before us, and we too are working to find what we believe to be out there but cannot always see,” said the head of the agency charged with protecting the US against domestic and international terrorism.

 

“Our primary threat continues to come from Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Mueller added. “But we are seeing persistent activity elsewhere, from the Maghreb and the Sahel to Yemen.”

 

US, he said was increasingly concerned with pockets of people around the world that identify with al-Qaeda and its ideology. “Some may have little or no actual contact with al-Qaeda. Yet fringe organisations can quickly gain broader aspirations and appeal.”

 

Citing a planned attack against Fort Dix, he noted the men FBI convicted had engaged in target practice in the woods of Pennsylvania. They had watched al-Qaeda training videos. They had a map of the base and a plan to get in. And they had purchased semi-automatic weapons from an FBI sting operation.

 

“Like the Mumbai attackers, these men wanted to inflict as much damage as they could. And as the Mumbai attacks illustrate, the simplest of weapons can be quite deadly when combined with capability and intent,” Mueller said.

 

One particular concern, the FBI director said, springs from the country’s background as a “nation of immigrants”. Federal officials worry about pockets of possible Islamic radicals among melting-pot communities in the United States such as Seattle, San Diego, Miami or New York.

 

A Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the FBI, for instance, continues to investigate a group in Minneapolis after one young man last fall flew to Somalia and became what authorities believe to be the first US citizen to carry out a suicide bombing.

 

“The prospect of young men,  indoctrinated and radicalised in their own communities . . . is a perversion of the immigrant story,” Mueller added.

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. A federal jury in New Jersey yesterday convicted five foreign-born Muslim men of conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix and other military installations as part of what prosecutors charged was a plot to launch an Islamic “holy war” against the United States.

    The men face the possibility of life in prison when U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler hands down sentences next spring. Four of the five were also convicted on weapons charges.

    The jury acquitted the five on charges of attempted murder. A sixth conspirator in the case pleaded guilty to weapons charges in October 2007 and was sentenced this year to 20 months in federal prison.

    “These criminals had the capacity and had done preparations to do serious and grievous harm to members of our military,” Ralph Marra, the acting U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said at a news conference after the verdict.

    Defense attorneys said they were considering appeals. They had argued in court that the defendants never carried out any actual attack, had no real intention of acting on the alleged plot and were manipulated by two paid FBI informants.

    After an eight-week trial, the sequestered jury of eight women and four men deliberated for about 38 hours over six days before reaching the verdict.

    “This has been one of the most difficult things that we have ever had to do,” the jurors said in a statement read in court by the judge. “We have held the fate of these five defendants in our hands, and we have not reached our conclusions lightly.”

    Convicted were brothers Dritan Duka, 30, Shain Duka, 27, and Eljvir Duka, 25, illegal immigrants from the former Yugoslavia who ran a Cherry Hill, N.J., roofing business; Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 23, an immigrant from Jordan employed as a taxi driver in Philadelphia; and Serdar Tatar, 25, a Turkish-born convenience store clerk in Philadelphia. Shnewer is a naturalized U.S. citizen; Tatar is a legal permanent resident.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/22/AR2008122200505.html?wprss=rss_nation

  2. How closely related is Islamic terrorism to mainstream Islam itself?

    Washington’s policy-makers have been careful in the war on terror to distinguish between Islam and the terrorists. The distinction has rankled conservatives who see scarce difference.

  3. Why is it that leftists and liberals never hear this?


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