Internet the Breeding Ground for Global Terrorism

Two Western Australia hospitals were raided; computer files seized by police.

ByABC News via logo
January 8, 2009, 12:21 AM

July 6, 2007 — -- The FBI confirmed that two of the doctors arrested in connection with the plots in Great Britain were looking to apply for accreditation in the United States.

One of the two doctors who considered traveling to the United States was Mohammed Asha, a Jordanian doctor. Asha was arrested with his wife on July 1, 2007.

Scotland Yard has now charged the first suspect in terror plot, Bilal Abdulla , also a doctor, has been charged with conspiring to cause explosions. Abdulla was a passenger in the fuel-laden Jeep that plowed into Glasgow Airport July 1.

Australian police raided two hospitals in western Australia today, seizing computer files and other material.

Four doctors of Indian descent who work in the western Australian hospitals have been questioned and released, according to reports. Police have made no further arrests since one Indian doctor was detained at Brisbane Airport Monday.

These latest developments in Australia underscore that the investigation into last week's failed attacks in Britain is a global one. In recent days the Internet has emerged as a crucial tool for both terrorists and investigators.

"When you have got all these al Qaeda Web sites flourishing 'round the world, we have got to take on this extremist propaganda," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.

Three men were jailed Thursday in London for allegedly inciting terror on the Internet.

They are accused of posting recruitment videos and terror attack footage and hosting online chat forums about terrorism. One message, posted in 2005, reads: "We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America."

The possible targets mentioned in those Internet posts include a naval base in Florida, an unspecified army base in Virginia and the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

FBI officials tell ABC News those threats are most likely terrorist bravado, but they are still being cautious.

"Any threat should be taken seriously and chatter sometimes results in attacks," said FBI agent Glen Jenvey.

Web sites also serve to encourage terrorist recruits.

"It's the growth place for terrorist recruitment, and particularly among the 15- to 25-year-old," said Sally Leivesley, a terrorism adviser to the British government, "and sometimes they're recruited either as fighters, suicide bombers or even to do reconnaissance on our cities."