— Pakistani authorities are gearing up for a drive to root out al Qaeda and its top leaders, such as Osama bin Laden, believed to be hiding in remote tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, officials said this weekend. Reuters news agency reported that by Saturday, Pakistani political authorities governing the semi-autonomous tribal regions asked for 8,000 paramilitary soldiers to add to the 4,000 already deployed. The United States is preparing for its "spring offensive" against militants both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as part of an organized effort to find the biggest catch, bin Laden.
And a report in the New York Times this weekend looks at a government investigation into the terror manufacturing of bomb explosives, finding that there exists a vast global network for bomb-making which has used the same technology for use in attacks in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Linkages between the various attacks suggests that while al Qaeda itself may be weakened due to successful international counterterror operations led by the U.S., parts of its network may still be training a wide generation of militants spread out across the world in bomb-making skills.
THE WAR ON TERROR
Pakistan Gears Up for Anti-Al Qaeda Operation
Pakistani authorities are gearing up for a drive against al Qaeda and Taliban militants in remote western tribal areas and have sought the deployment of more paramilitary troops, officials said Sunday. (Reuters)
New Offensive Against Al Qaeda
Pakistani and U.S. forces have been mobilised on a large scale on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border in search of al Qaeda and Taliban men amidst arrest of seven Afghan nomads in Khost province of Afghanistan. (Hi Pakistan)
Report: Bin Laden Cornered In Pakistan's Northwest
U.S. and British special forces have cornered al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a mountainous area in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border, media reported. (AFP)
ABCNEWS has learned through intelligence sources that media reports of bin Laden's capture are false.
Speculations About Possible Arrest of Al Zawahri Soon
There was speculation among U.S. media offices in Cairo that the U.S. was about to arrest al Qaeda's number two Ayman Al Zawahri, reports Al Hayat newspaper. Informed Pakistani sources told the paper that they've seen pictures taken by a U.S. spy plane of al Zawahri in the Waziristan area. In a separate story, the paper said that al Zawahri was sighted in an area close to Banu in Waziristan. (Al Hayat)
Man Arrested For Contacting Qaeda
Officials of the Federal Investigation Agency's Special Investigation Group (SIG) on Friday night took into custody a person from Islamabad for his alleged links with Al Qaeda, sources told Daily Times. (Daily Times — Pakistan)
Anti-Terror Agency Keeping Low Profile
The Advanced Research and Development Activity is not a secret federal office, but it might as well be. (AP)
U.S. Intensifies Anti-Terrorism Strategy in Africa
The commander of U.S. forces in Europe met South African President Thabo Mbeki on Friday for talks on America's new security strategy in Africa to combat terrorism, military officials said. (Reuters)
Sweeping New Powers in U.K. War On Terror Blunkett pledges huge increase in MI5 staff. Phone tap evidence to be allowed in court. (The Observer)
U.S. Agency Sees Global Network for Bomb Making
Government forensic investigators examining how terrorists manufacture improvised explosives have found indications of a global bomb-making network, and have concluded that Islamic militant bomb builders have used the same designs for car bombs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, government officials said this week. (NY Times)
Flawed Ally Was Hunt's Best Hope
A team of CIA operators from the agency's Counterterrorist Center flew to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in October 1999. Code-named JAWBREAKER-5, the group was led by the chief of the center's Osama bin Laden unit, known to his colleagues as Rich, a veteran of CIA postings in Algiers and elsewhere in the developing world. (Washington Post)
Report: Al Qaeda's Effective Leader in Saudi Arabia is a Yemeni
The real leader of al Qaeda's cells in Saudi Arabia is a Yemeni called Khaled al Haj aka Abu Hazem Al Sha'er, reports Asharq Al Awsat according to information it obtained. Al Haj is on the Saudi list of most wanted terror suspects. So far, Abdul Aziz al Muqrin, the number one suspect on the list, was believed to be al Qaeda's leader in Saudi Arabia. The paper is reporting however that al Qaeda was reluctant to announce that al Haj was the real leader as it may discourage followers because he is a Yemeni. (Asharq Al Awsat)
Terror Suspect's Body Discovered Early This Month
The Saudi authorities revealed that the body discovered early this month in a desert area north of Riyadh is that of Amer bin Mohsen bin Marif bin Zeidan al Shehri, who was number 23 on the Saudi list of most wanted terror suspects. (Al Hayat)
Iranian Ambassador Says Saudi Al Qaeda Suspects Were Handed Over
Iran handed over a number of Saudi al Qaeda suspects to Saudi Arabia, the Iranian ambassador in Riyadh said in an interview with the Saudi Al Jazeera newspaper. He did not specify the number of those extradited nor when the handover took place. (Elaph)
Supreme Court Will Hear 3rd Detainee Case
The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to consider whether President Bush had the authority to detain indefinitely an American who was seized on American soil by declaring him an enemy combatant. (NY Times)
Terror Suspect Held in Fla. Without Bail
A man held on a weapons charge and accused of links to terrorists lost a bid to be released on bail when prosecutors said they might file more serious charges against him. (AP)
Virginia Man Acquitted of Terrorism Link
A judge on Friday acquitted a man charged in an alleged conspiracy to aid the Taliban and tossed out some of the allegations against three other men accused in the case. (AP)
Suspect in Appeals Court: I Received a Phone Call to Cancel Attack On Military Base
The Tunisian suspect Nizar Trabelsi said in the appeal's court in Belgium Saturday that he received a phone call from someone called Fayez in Pakistan on the day of his arrest on September 14th 2001 ordering him to abandon a plan to attack a military base in Belgium. He argues that he was about to leave the country upon his arrest. Trabelsi is accused of planning terror attacks and belonging to a terrorist organizations. (Asharq Al Awsat)
Court Refused to Hand Over Three Egyptian Suspects to U.S.
A Dutch court rejected a U.S. request to hand over for trial three Egyptians who the U.S. believes have relations with al Qaeda. The three were arrested in January of 2003 after Dutch authorities received information from the U.S. that they may have connections to al Qaeda network. (Asharq Al Awsat)
Retrospective Terror Law Plausible, Lawyer Says A former United Nations prosecutor has challenged Prime Minister John Howard's position on retrospective legislation to allow Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib to be charged and tried in Australia. (ABC Online — Australia)
Danish Foreign Minister Accused Of Giving False Information On Guantanamo Detainee Denmark's parliamentary opposition called for an explanation from the Foreign Minister over false information allegedly given on the circumstances of the arrest of a Danish national being held by US forces at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba. (AFP)
THE WAR IN IRAQ
Iraq Suicide Bombing Kills 10, Hurts 45
Suicide bombing outside Iraqi police station kills at Llast 10, wounds 45 others. (AP)
Red Cross Visits Saddam Hussein in Jail
The international Red Cross visited Saddam Hussein in jail for the first time Saturday, and the ousted dictator wrote a letter to his family that will be delivered once the United States confirms it does not contain any hidden messages to his followers. (AP)
Al Qaeda Rebuffs Iraqi Terror Group, U.S. Officials Say The most active terrorist network inside Iraq appears to be operating mostly apart from al Qaeda, senior American officials say. (NY Times)
Largest Rotation of U.S. Forces Begins
Nearly a quarter-million U.S. soldiers are within weeks of passing through this desert kingdom on their way to or from the war in neighboring Iraq, the largest such rotation of American forces in history, according to military planners overseeing the project. (AP)
Saddam's Aide Arrested Before Escaping to Syria
U.S. sources confirmed yesterday that Iraqi border police arrested Tarek Faizy Al Haza', one of Saddam's relatives and the director of the so called "Office of the July Revolutionaries." On the Iraqi-Syrian borders. (Asharq Al Awsat)
Shiite Assails Iraq Elections 'Stalling'
Leading Shiite member of Iraq Governing Council demands end to 'stalling' on elections. (AP)
ANALYSIS & OPINION
Not a Magic Bullet In terror war, U.S. relies too heavily on its thinly stretched Special Forces. (LA Times)
Release Our Prisoners
"They must face trial — Fury at freedom for Taliban Brits", screamed the Sun yesterday. Elsewhere, however, the "fury" was difficult to find. (The Guardian)
'We Want Answers: Why Have They Been Held So Long Without Charge?'
The images were stark and shocking. Britons, swathed in orange overalls, hooded and shackled, kneeling in front of their American captors. (The Independent)
Book: 'Terrorism, Freedom, and Security'
In 1998, I wrote a book explaining terrorism as we knew it then. In a new preface for a reprinting in 2000, I emphasized the already growing fears that nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction would be used by terrorists. Understanding the threat to America of terrorism after September 11, 2001 requires understanding what the situation was before that date and what changed with that attack and with ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (NY Times)
Those in Crisis …
The deferral came as a compromise between the Shiites and the Americans. (Al Hayat)
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.