The Insider: Daily Terrorism Report

U.S. forces in Iraq engaged in a heavy military operation late Tuesday, pounding the besieged city of Fallujah for hours using airplanes and artillery upon Sunni insurgents, to demonstrate the United States' defiance against repeated threats by the Iraqi insurgency. The strikes smashed homes and sent huge plumes of smoke and orange flames into the night sky over Fallujah, where a fragile cease-fire with insurgent was extended, news wires reported. U.S. and Iraqi forces are expected to begin joint patrols on Thursday.

And the special United Nations envoy for Iraq said Tuesday that the new government in Iraq should be chosen a full month before sovereignty is transferred on June 30 to give it time to define its authority.

THE WAR IN IRAQ

U.S. Forces Pound Insurgents in Fallujah

U.S. warplanes and artillery pound Sunni insurgents in Fallujah. (AP)

A Series of Explosions Rocks Fallujah

A series of explosions and gunfire rocked Fallujah on Wednesday in new fighting after a heavy battle the night before in which U.S. warplanes and artillery pounded the city in a show of force against Sunni insurgents holed up in a slum. (AP)

U.N. Envoy Seeks New Iraq Council by Close of May

The caretaker government to assume sovereignty on June 30 should be selected a month beforehand, Lakhdar Brahimi said. (NY Times)

How Pair's Finding on Terror Led to Clash On Shaping Intelligence A Senate committee is investigating whether a Pentagon unit exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq to justify the war. (NY Times)

Stronger Humvee Not Enough, General Says The reinforced version is not sufficiently protecting troops in Iraq, he tells the Army. The service says it doesn't see a problem. (LA Times)

THE WAR ON TERROR

INVESTIGATIONS

Syria

Syrian Police Clash With Bombers

Four people have been killed in an unprecedented clash between Syrian police and a team of bombers in the Syrian capital Damascus. (BBC)

Editor's Note: The attacks in Syria yesterday continue to raise questions. Officials refer to a "terrorist group" as being behind the attacks, yet the attackers who were allegedly killed have yet to be identified. It is also not clear why the group attacked some of the reported targets, such as a virtually abandoned building formerly occupied by the U.N. Moreover, journalists entering Damascus yesterday observed no increased security measures on the streets, as would be expected in such a heightened risk situation. And lastly, it is interesting that this comes in the wake of the Jordanian announcement of an intercepted attack in Amman in mid-April which involved several Syrians and used safe houses in Syria. It also comes as the U.S. is in the process of deciding whether to impose "hard" or "soft" sanctions on Syria. (ABCNEWS Investigative Unit)

Pakistan

Bin Laden Not Hiding In Pakistan: Militant Tribesman

A top tribal militant accused of sheltering al Qaeda fighters in a rugged Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan has said that he doubts Osama bin Laden is hiding there. (AFP)

9/11 Commission

Canadian NORAD Staff Queried Over 9/11 Attacks

Several dozen Canadian military officers serving at NORAD headquarters have been interviewed by the United States congressional committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (Toronto Star)

Justices Hear Challenges to Post-9/11 Presidential Powers

The Supreme Court is to hear arguments today involving the limits of presidential power and the balance between individual freedom and national security. (NY Times)

Bush-Cheney 9/11 Interview Won't Be Formally Recorded

The interview, scheduled for Thursday at the White House, will be recorded by two note takers, one from the White House and the other from the Sept. 11 commission. (NY Times)

Saudi Arabia

Saudis Surround Group Suspected of Bomb Plot

Saudi Arabian counter-terrorist forces yesterday surrounded an armed group that officials say may have planned last week's suicide car bombing in Riyadh. The Arab news website Elaph is also reporting that the Saudi forces last night started shooting at suspects in the area. (Financial Times, Elaph)

Mystery Indian Leads Al Qaeda Hunt

Saudi Arabia's security forces are besieging al-Qaeda terrorists in a mountainous area in Al-Ammariya, about 35 km northeast of the capital Riyadh. They were tipped off about the location by a kidnapped Indian who had escaped from the terrorists. (Sify — India)

Jordan

Report: Damage Expected From Foiled Attack Overestimated by Terrorists

Informed Jordanian sources told Al Hayat newspaper that the chemicals that were to be used in an attack on the intelligence headquarters in Amman included acids used in school and college experiments, pesticides and gases containing ordinary poisons, which would not have resulted in great damage unless they were manufactured in technically-advanced military factories. Al Hayat also notes that the aired terrorist confessions show that Abu Musaab Al Zarqawi was incapable of recruiting qualified people for the operation. (Al Hayat)

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS

U.S. Supreme Court Examines Security, Terror

Supreme court takes its closest look yet at security and terrorism. (AP)

Spain Madrid Suspect Indicted On 9/11 Charges

A Moroccan fugitive sought in connection with last month's Madrid train bombings was indicted Wednesday on charges of helping plan the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP)

Indonesia

Police Question Indonesian Cleric

Indonesian police have begun questioning Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir to probe his alleged role in terrorist activities. (BBC)

COUNTER-TERRORISM

GCC States to Sign Anti-Terrorism Pact Next Month

Interior ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council will sign an anti-terrorism pact next month in Kuwait, the GCC secretary-general said yesterday. (AFP)

U.S.

$5 Billion in Antiterror Aid Is Reported Stuck in Pipeline

More than $5 billion in federal money to help communities brace for terrorist attacks has not yet reached the local authorities and remains stuck in the administrative pipeline, Congressional officials said Tuesday. (NY Times)

ON THE WEB

Al Battar Camp Denies Group Was Behind Recent Riyadh Bombing

The 9th issue of a bi-weekly online magazine, Al Battar Camp, published by "the Military Committee of the Mujaheddin in the Arab's Peninsula," denies the group was behind the bombing of a security building in Riyadh last Wednesday. The opening editorial however praised the attack. The issue also included an article allegedly written by senior al Qaeda leader Seif al Adl entitled "surveillance." It also contained a piece written by the number one suspect on the Saudi most wanted list, Abdel Aziz Al Muwrin, about the tactics of assassinations. (ABCNEWS Investigative Unit)

Saudi Suicide Bombers' Wills Re-released On Website

The wills of Saudi suicide bombers who carried out the May 12th, 2003 attack in Riyadh were edited and posted as a new audio release on the site of the Center for Islamic Studies and Research. (ABCNEWS Investigative Unit)

ANALYSIS & OPINION

Syria Attack Mystery

It is still unclear who carried out Tuesday's attack in the diplomatic quarter of the Syrian capital Damascus. (BBC)

Hold The Marines and Fight Terror With An Army of Grocers

Here's another wake-up call for all those in the Arab world and the West who watch with increasing concern the current global war by and against terror. Jordanian authorities Monday might broadcast televised "confessions" by several captured alleged leaders of a plot by al Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorists to explode massive chemical bombs in the capital Amman. (The Daily Star — Lebanon)

The Foreseeable Past

Most of the Monday-morning quarterbacking done in the wake of the 9/11 Commission has been unfair. One federal agency, however, really could have taken steps to stymie the attacks — the FAA. By simply changing its guidelines on how to handle hijackings, the Federal Aviation Administration could conceivably have prevented September 11. (The Weekly Standard)

A Black and White Case of U.S. Injustice Jose Padilla was a devout Muslim, born on the wrong side of the tracks. White, middle-class John Walker Lindh shared his religion but little else. Rupert Cornwell examines their unequal treatment before the law. (The Independent)

The Siege of Falluja, a Test in a Tinderbox

The siege in Falluja is a case study in mistaken assumptions, dashed hopes, rivalries and a tragedy that became a trigger. (NY Times)

From Allied to Alienated A Shiite cleric who fled Iraq for the U.S. returned, euphoric, after American troops invaded. Today, he just wants them gone. (LA Times)

Trusting Iraqis?

We need to bring back the most professional and least political Baathist generals. (NY Times)

Insurgents In Iraq Show Signs of Acting As a Network

They appear to be carrying out coordinated raids and finding ways to recruit new fighters. (CS Monitor)

The U.N. Has to Come Clean

The demise of dictators opens previously secret files that can provide a graphic portrait of who benefited from their wrongdoing. Without fail, a closed government provides hiding places for corruption on a mass scale. (LA Times)

The Insider Daily Terrorism Report (DTR) is a summary of major news articles and broadcasts relating to international terrorism and the war in Iraq. The DTR is edited from foreign and U.S. sources by Chris Isham, Hoda Osman, and Brinda Adhikari of the ABCNEWS Investigative Unit. The outside views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ABCNEWS.