FBI: AQ Operative Used New Jersey as Base

THE WAR ON TERROR

INVESTIGATIONS

United States

FBI Says Al Qaeda Scout Used N.J. As Base

A senior al-Qaida operative lived in New Jersey and posed as a student to disguise his surveillance of financial institutions as possible terror targets, officials said Wednesday. The FBI's top agent in New Jersey, Joseph Billy Jr., confirmed that the operative led an al-Qaida mission to survey the physical layout and assess weaknesses of the Prudential Financial Inc. building in downtown Newark. (Bergen County Record —free registration required)

U.S. Port Security Is Found Lacking

The Department of Homeland Security's independent investigator has concluded that federal inspectors of oceangoing shipping containers still need to improve their detection equipment and search procedures to prevent terrorists from sneaking weapons of mass destruction into U.S. ports. (AP)

Report: Chechens entered U.S. via Mexico

A report that 25 Chechen rebels linked to Islamic terrorists entered the United States illegally via Mexico is under investigation, the Washington Times said. (UPI)

White House: Islamic Agency Aids Terror

The Bush administration on Wednesday accused a Sudan-based relief organization and five of its officials of helping finance Osama bin Laden and other terrorists. (AP)

Egypt

Egypt Probes Whether al Qaeda Suspects Arrested in Libya Linked to Sinai Bombs

Egyptian authorities are investigating whether 17 suspected al Qaeda members arrested while illegally entering Libya are connected to last week's co-ordinated bombings at Sinai tourist resorts that killed 34 people, an Egyptian official said Wednesday. (AP)

Pakistan

Hostage Killed in Pakistan Rescue

One Chinese hostage held by Islamic militants in South Waziristan has been killed and one freed in a dramatic rescue mission by Pakistani forces. (BBC)

U.K.

Plane Diverted After Security Scare

A Virgin Atlantic passenger jet travelling to Heathrow airport was this morning forced to make an emergency landing at Stansted following a security scare. (The Guardian)

IRAQ NEWS

Eight Dead in Iraq's Green Zone

Eight civilians have been killed in two blasts in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, the US military says. (BBC)

Falluja Threatened Over Militants

Iraq's interim leader Iyad Allawi has threatened an assault on Falluja if residents do not turn in Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. (BBC)

French Hostages in Iraq Are Still Alive, Negotiations Underway: PM

Two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq in August are still alive, and "indirect" negotiations have resumed to try to free them, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told officials and party leaders Wednesday. (AFP)

UK Freezes Terror Group's Assets

The Bank of England has frozen the assets of a terrorist group that claimed responsibility for kidnapping and beheading two Americans and one Briton in Iraq, Treasury chief Gordon Brown said Thursday. (AP)

Zarqawi Group Beheads Two Iraqi 'Intelligence Agents'

A group loyal to wanted Jordanian Islamist Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi posted a video on the Internet showing the beheading of two men it claimed were in the Iraqi intelligence service. (AFP)

Video: Kidnapped Turkish Driver Beheaded

A man identified as a Turkish driver kidnapped in Iraq was beheaded in a video shown on an Islamic Web site Thursday. (AP)

Hundreds of Kurds Found Buried in Iraq Mass Graves

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