Author Topic: Uzbekistan: Muslim Terrorists Kill 42 Innocent People  (Read 47 times)

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Uzbekistan: Muslim Terrorists Kill 42 Innocent People
« on: March 31, 2004, 08:31:02 PM »
Allah Akbar!

Standoff Ends in Uzbekistan
42 Killed in Terror-Related Violence Since Sunday

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (April 1) - A lone militant who was holed up in a house blew himself up early Thursday, ending a standoff in the Uzbek capital. The official statement contradicted accounts of militants holding a large number of hostages.

Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency reported two hostages had been freed unharmed, citing police at the scene.

The incident appeared at first to mark a fourth straight day of violence in the Central Asian country, where police and Islamic militants had allegedly engaged in battles and bombings that had taken at least 42 lives.

But Oleg Bichenov, Tashkent city police anti-terrorism deputy chief, said early Thursday their were no hostages and that a lone man - barricaded in a house and surrounded by police - had detonated explosives, killing himself.

Bichenov had no explanation for discrepancies with the earlier reports.

The violence in Uzbekistan, where President Islam Karimov rules with an iron hand, was the first of note since the former Soviet republic became a key U.S. ally in the war on terror shortly before the Afghan war.

The Interfax news agency had reported the standoff began with an unknown number of casualties in the grenade explosion in the Sabir-Rakhimovski district of Tashkent, a half mile from the Chorsu bazaar where suicide bombers struck Monday. Russia's Channel One television said three people were wounded and ITAR-Tass said one police officer was lightly injured.

Police blocked off streets and trucks packed with soldiers arrived and pushed back onlookers, establishing a cordon around the area after a grenade blast. The soldiers, wearing flak jackets and helmets, were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

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An Associated Press reporter saw police escorting three women wearing kerchiefs into a police car. Later, at least five buses carrying people who appeared to be civilians left the area under police escort, as residents of the neighborhood of small single-family homes stood outside the cordon trying to find out what was going on.

The end to the standoff came as a sharp sound of an explosion resounded - likely the militant's explosive. Later buses brought some of the residents who had been evacuated back to the neighborhood.

Nineteen people were killed and 26 wounded on Sunday and Monday in violence that included the first suicide bombings in Uzbekistan. On Tuesday, 23 people died as Uzbek forces battled for hours with suspected terrorists, and were struck by two suicide attacks, officials said. All the attacks appeared to target Uzbek authorities.

Police searched the capital Wednesday in pursuit of fugitive militants, and reportedly arrested at least 30. A police official said those in custody so far were adherents of the strict Wahhabi Islamic sect, which was believed to have inspired Osama bin Laden, not members of an extremist group President Islam Karimov has implied were behind the attacks.

Bichenov said those in custody were being questioned at length - but that interrogations so far found that none were members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir extremist group. Instead, he said the suspects were aligned with the Wahhabi sect of Islam.

Before Wednesday's standoff, the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent said no new violence was reported Wednesday in the country. An embassy annex office remained closed, although visa operations resumed. Americans were urged to be on ''highest alert,'' as the situation remained unclear.

On Monday, Prosecutor-General Rashid Kadyrov told journalists that religious literature from Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Wahhabi sect had been found at an alleged terrorist bomb-making factory in the central region of Bukhara.

Hizb ut-Tahrir - which claims to disavow violence, while not explicitly ruling it out in its quest to create an Islamic state across the world - has never been linked to any terrorist attacks. Its office in Britain, where the group is allowed to operate openly, denied responsibility for events in Uzbekistan.

Uzbek authorities claim Hizb ut-Tahrir is a breeding ground for terrorists and have sought unsuccessfully to have Washington label it a terrorist group.

The Wahhabi sect is dominant in Saudi Arabia and has attracted many followers across Central Asia and the Caucasus.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has said the United States had no information on who was responsible for the attacks but noted the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has been the dominant threat in the country.

That terror group was believed to have been decimated in the U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, and Pakistani forces this month hunting al-Qaida fugitives on the Afghan border said they wounded the IMU's political leader.

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Re:Uzbekistan: Muslim Terrorists Kill 42 Innocent People
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2004, 08:34:57 PM »
It makes me sick the way media tries to portray Islam as somehow being linked to terrorism moreso than any other religion.

Eight Muslims Arrested in Britain For Plotting Attacks

LONDON (March 30) -- Police arrested eight men and seized half a ton of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer compound used in the Oklahoma City bombing, in raids by hundreds of officers - one of the biggest anti-terrorism operations in Britain since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Home Secretary David Blunkett, who has warned for months that London is a prime terrorist target, said the arrests Tuesday were a ''timely reminder'' of the threat from al-Qaida. But a Muslim leader warned that the headline-grabbing dawn raids risked demonizing the whole community.

Press Association, the British news agency, said all eight were of Pakistani descent, but police would not comment.

A police officer guards a storage facility where explosive materials were found.  
In a sweep involving 700 officers, eight suspects were picked up in London and towns to the south and west on suspicion of involvement in the ''commission, preparation or instigation'' of acts of terrorism, London's Metropolitan Police said.

Authorities recovered the ammonium nitrate - often used in terrorist bombings - from a self-storage facility in west London, police said. It was the largest seizure of potential bomb-making material in England since the Irish Republican Army suspended its campaign of violence in 1997.

''Part of the investigation will focus on the purchase, storage and intended use of that material,'' said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the force's anti-terrorist branch.

Clarke said the suspects were British, aged 17 to 32, and were arrested as part of an operation targeting alleged international terrorist activity. He said the operation, which involved five police forces, was not connected to the Madrid train bombings this month or to Irish terrorism.

Clarke gave no details of the suspects' background or religious affiliation, but he told reporters that ''we in the police service know that the overwhelming majority of the Muslim community are law abiding and completely reject all forms of violence.''

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Three of the arrests were in Uxbridge and Slough, near Heathrow Airport west of London, and four in Crawley and Horley, near Gatwick to the south. Police refused to say whether there was any significance to the proximity. The eighth arrest was in Ilford, east London.

Officers conducted 24 searches that also targeted addresses in Reading, Luton and north London. In Crawley, a bedroom community near Gatwick, forensic investigators in blue coveralls searched a red-brick house as neighbors and journalists looked on.

Residents in Luton, a town north of London where several homes were searched, expressed shock at the raids. Taxi driver Jarez Khan said he knew one of the families whose property was searched.

''I'd be amazed if they were involved in any kind of terrorism. They can't have done anything wrong. They're a nice family,'' Khan said.

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''From what I heard, the police came here at about 5 o'clock kicking doors down like (the British police TV series) 'The Sweeney.' There are young children in those houses. What do they need to do this for? It's over the top.''

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said such high-profile police operations fostered an impression that many Muslims supported terrorism.

''These raids are usually given a lot of importance when they are taking place but when people are released without charge it is not news,'' he said.

''Our community, the Muslim community, is being demonized through these events,'' he added.

Of more than 500 people arrested under the Terrorism Act since Sept. 11, 2001, four-fifths have been released without charge.

Police and government officials have been warning for months that terrorists will attempt a major attack on London. Britain's strong support for the war in Iraq makes it a prime target, and there were fresh calls for vigilance following the Madrid train bombings on March 11.

Blunkett, the minister responsible for homeland security, said the arrests were ''a timely reminder that the U.K. and its interests abroad remain a target.''

Ammonium nitrate is a common fertilizer, but it can be mixed with fuel oil to make a powerful explosive.

A half-ton bomb could kill hundreds if detonated in a crowded place. The IRA used a half-ton fertilizer bomb to blow up part of London's Canary Wharf office complex in February 1996, killing two people.

A smaller amount of fertilizer was used in the Oct. 12, 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly Western tourists.

IRA dissidents used about 500 pounds to kill 29 people and wound more than 300 in the Northern Ireland town of Omagh in 1998.

The bomb that blew up a U.S. government building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing more than 160 people, contained two tons of ammonium nitrate.

''It's a very effective bomb. It's been used in hundreds of terrorist atrocities worldwide,'' said weapons expert Mike Yardley. ''It's the ideal explosive - simple, effective and cheap.''

03-30-04 21:53 EST


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Re:Uzbekistan: Muslim Terrorists Kill 42 Innocent People
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2004, 08:42:18 PM »
Where oh where do people get the idea that Islam is a violent religion?

Philippines says foils major attack
By Stuart Grudgings

Click to enlarge photo

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines says it has foiled a "Madrid-level" terror attack on shops and trains in the capital Manila by arresting four suspected Islamic militants and seizing a large amount of explosives.

The suspected plot by members of the Abu Sayyaf group comes as campaigning heats up ahead of May 10 national elections in which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a firm ally in the U.S.-led war on terror, is seeking a new term.

Click to enlarge photo

"We have pre-empted a Madrid-level attack on the metropolis by capturing an explosive cache of 80 pounds (36 kg) of TNT which was intended to be used for bombing malls and trains in Metro Manila," Arroyo said on national television on Tuesday.

"Follow-up operations are ongoing. They will be relentless."

Officials said the four suspected militants, including several involved in high-profile kidnappings of foreigners by the Abu Sayyaf, had been arrested in raids in Manila last weekend and on Monday, including in the Makati business area.

Police intelligence chief Ismael Rafanan said the arrested leader of the cell was the cousin of Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani. The cousin is suspected of beheading U.S. citizen Guillermo Sobero after he was kidnapped in 2001.

Officials did not say how they knew the men had been planning to attack shops and trains.

Rex Robles, a retired navy commodore who runs a security consultancy in Manila, said the amount of explosive seized would not be enough for an attack on the scale of Madrid unless it was combined with other materials.

"She may have announced it prematurely for political reasons, to overcome the popularity of her rival," he told Reuters, referring to Arroyo's main election rival, actor Fernando Poe Jr.

U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Manila Joseph Mussomeli congratulated Arroyo in a letter, saying the government's "timely response to this threat has likely prevented a major tragedy".

Arroyo's announcement of the suspected plot comes three weeks after bombs exploded in four packed Madrid commuter trains just before national elections, killing 190 people in an attack blamed on militants linked to al Qaeda.

The attacks precipitated the defeat of Spain's government in the elections in a backlash against its support for the Iraq war. All the candidates running against Arroyo in May have expressed support for the U.S.-led war on terror and the Iraq invasion.

Defence Secretary Eduardo Ermita told reporters the arrests followed a tip-off, and one of the suspects had been trained by the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI) to handle explosives.

The JI has been blamed for several bomb blasts in Manila in December 2000, including one on a train, that killed 22 people.

"I am willing to stake my reputation on this one," National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said on television when asked if the government could be exaggerating the threat. "No politics involved."


Arroyo said that one captured militant was implicated in a bombing in southern Zamboanga City in 2002 in which a U.S. serviceman died, while another claimed responsibility for the sinking of a passenger ferry near Manila last month in which more than 100 died. The government has cast doubt on Abu Sayyaf's claim to have set the ferry on fire before it sank.

The 300-strong Abu Sayyaf group, based on an island chain southwest of southern Mindanao island, has been linked to al Qaeda, although many analysts say it has become a criminal gang.

The military believes Janjalani may now be based in Mindanao with a small group of fighters. The government said on Tuesday it was raising its reward for his capture to 10 million pesos from five million.

David Wright-Neville, a terrorism expert at Australia's Monash University, said some Abu Sayyaf members may have changed tactics due to the U.S. deployment of hundreds of troops to help Manila defeat the group after the September 11 attacks.

"It suggests that what that might have done is radicalise some elements of the Abu Sayyaf group to the point where they are now considering these sorts of mass casualty attacks," he said.