The Insider: Daily Terrorism Report

An Iraqi militant group said Wednesday that it had taken three Indians, two Kenyans and an Egyptian hostage and planned to behead them if their countries did not immediately announce their intention to withdraw their citizens from Iraq, news wires report. None of the countries whose citizens are among the new captives are part of the 160,000-member coalition force in Iraq. In a statement given to the Associated Press, the group, calling itself "The Holders of the Black Banners," said they had taken the six truckers hostage and would behead one of them every 72 hours if their nations did not pull out of Iraq and the company they work for did not close its branch there. The deadline starts from 8 p.m. Wednesday, it said. The statement came a day after militants released Filipino hostage Angelo dela Cruz, whose country gave in to his captors' demands and pulled its 51-member force out of Iraq. More than 60 foreigners have been taken hostage in Iraq in recent months.

And, in Saudi Arabia, the head of slain American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., who was kidnapped and decapitated by militants in Saudi Arabia last month, was found by security forces during a raid that targeted the Saudi al Qaeda chief Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi, news wires report. The Saudi Interior Ministry said Johnson's head was found after a search of one of three locations after the raid late Tuesday that hit the home of al Aoofi. The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that two militants were killed and three others were wounded. One of the dead militants, identified by the Interior Ministry as Issa Saad Mohammed bin Oushan, is on the Saudi government's list of wanted militants. The statement did not name others but Arab news stations have reported that al Aoofi may be among the casualties. Al Aoofi is thought to be the successor of Abdulaziz al Moqrin, the alleged mastermind of Johnson's kidnapping and beheading, who was shot and killed by security forces on June 17th after photos of Johnson's beheading were posted on the internet.


Iraq Militant Group Takes 6 New Hostages A militant group said Wednesday it had taken two Kenyans, three Indians and an Egyptian hostage and would behead them if their countries did not announce their intention to withdraw their troops from Iraq immediately. (AP)

Three U.S. Allies Face New Threat in Iraq U.S. allies Poland, Japan and Bulgaria face new purported threats for role in Iraq. (AP)

U.S. Toll In Iraq Exceeds 900 A roadside bomb has exploded killing one US soldier and taking the number of US military dead since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 above 900. (Aljazeera)

Iraq Seeks Border Security Boost Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has warned that instability in Iraq could spill over to other countries in the region. (BBC)

In Iraq, Booze Becomes A Risky Business Fundamentalists Blamed for Wave of Attacks on Shops, Owners. (Washington Post)

Iraq's Oil Platforms Provide Vital Revenue, Prime Terror Target Standing in near-isolation in the Persian Gulf, the al Basra oil platform holds the key to Iraq's economic recovery, making the rusting highway of pipes one of the biggest terrorist targets in the region. (ABCNEWS)

Tough-Guy Rumors Make Iraqis' Day There are many versions of the story on the Iraqi street. In one, interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is driving through downtown Baghdad and sees a frail old man being confronted by three armed men attempting to steal his vehicle. The prime minister leaps out of his car and shoots dead the would-be carjackers. (LA Times)

Released Filipino Hostage Reunited With Wife, Brother Angelo dela Cruz, the Filipino truck driver held hostage by militants in Iraq and threatened with decapitation, wept Wednesday as he was reunited here with his wife and brother. (AP)

Zarqawi Wants Sunnis In Control Terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi has proved an elusive prey in Iraq, but his agenda has never been secret: He wants the Americans out, the Jews destroyed and his fellow Sunni Muslims firmly in charge in the heart of Islam. (Washington Times)



Saudi Arabia

Saudis Say They Found American's Head The head of slain American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., who was kidnapped and decapitated by militants in Saudi Arabia last month, was found by security forces during a raid that targeted the Saudi al Qaeda chief. Two militants were killed, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. (AP)

Saudis Kill Two Suspects; One May Be Al Qaeda Chief Saudi Arabian security forces killed two terrorist suspects, and captured six others in a gun battle late yesterday in the capital, Riyadh, the Interior Ministry said. Saleh al-Oufi, accused of leading al-Qaeda in the kingdom, may be among them, Al Arabiya television reported. (Pakistan News)

Poland/Bulgaria Al Qaeda Threatens Poland, Bulgaria Over Iraq Role A group calling itself the "al Qaeda organization in Europe'' today threatened to attack Poland and Bulgaria if they don't withdraw their forces from the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a statement on a militant Islamic Web site. (Bloomberg)

Poland Defies Terror Threat Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka convened the country's special services on an emergency meeting on Wednesday following terror menaces against Poland and Bulgaria. (Novinite)

9/11 Commission September 11 Report To List 10 Missed Opportunities To Thwart Attack A report to be issued on the September 11 attacks lists 10 missed opportunities during the administrations of President George W. Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton to detect or derail the attacks. (Channel News Asia)

Berger: Incident Was 'Honest Mistake' Former national security adviser Sandy Berger says he regrets the way he handled classified terrorism documents, calling the whole thing "an honest mistake." Republicans say the matter raises questions about whether the former Clinton administration official sought to hide embarrassing materials. (AP)

Hastert: 9/11 Reforms Unlikely This Year Congress isn't likely to undertake major revisions of the nation's intelligence operations this year, House Speaker Dennis Hastert says, casting doubt on the Sept. 11 commission's push for immediate changes once its final report is released. (AP)

United States Public Less Fearful of Terrorist Attack The percentage of Americans who have created an emergency plan for a terrorist attack has dropped in the past year, along with the proportion of Americans who believe that terrorists may strike near their home or workplace, according to two new studies released yesterday. (Washington Post)

Bush Signs Legislation to Fight Bioterrorism Pledging to rally U.S. science and technology against "the greatest danger of our time," President Bush today signed into law a $5.6 billion bill aimed at bolstering the nation's defenses against biological, chemical and nuclear terrorism. (Washington Post)

Philippines Philippines Reiterates Commitment To Anti-Terror Fight The Philippines reiterated its strong commitment to the global fight against terrorism in a bid to appease allies who criticized its decision to withdraw its troops from Iraq to save a Filipino hostage held by militants. (Manila Online Bulletin)

Greece Greek Official: Only Greek Guards To Escort Olympic Athletes In Athens; U.S. to Send Anti-Terror Teams Under NATO Olympic athletes will be under the exclusive protection of Greek forces, but foreign leaders and other dignitaries can use their own armed guards, Greece's top law enforcement official said Wednesday. (AP)


United States American On Trial For Private "War On Terror" Claims Rumsfeld Link A US citizen appearing in court charged with running a private "war on terror" in Afghanistan on Wednesday claimed he and two other Americans were working with the full knowledge of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. (AFP)


Sovereignty and Occupation Despite that the new interim government in Iraq has initiated in its very first days to threaten Arab satellite channels to become more "committed"… The real problem is the absolute opposite. (Al-Hayat)

Bush's Magnanimity At Stake In Jenkins Case How many soldiers has the U.S. military lost through desertion in connection with the war in Iraq? (Asahi —Japan)

Prisoner Abuse Scandal Can't Fade From View When the shocking and repellent photographs of Iraqi prisoners being abused at the hands of their American captors came to light at the end of April, many reacted immediately with an understandable disbelief. (Republican)

U.S. Should Reconsider Its Policies, Not Castigate Its Allies The decision by Filipino President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to withdraw the 51-strong Filipino armed force from Iraq was courageous and legitimate. With a million Filipinos working in the Middle East, Manila's concerns were not solely about the Filipino hostage kidnapped in Iraq. The Philippines had an eye on the bigger picture, and their reading of the situation, politically and in terms of security, worked. A day after the Filipino force flew out of Baghdad on Monday, Iraqi militants released the hostage. (Daily Star)

How Intelligence Was Bent to One Will and Purpose Anthony Sampson assesses the faults of Scarlett and Campbell over Iraq and says both were acting for one man - the Prime Minister. (Guardian)

How Saddam Failed the Yeltsin Test Most anyone who's worked in government has a story —probably re-told often these days, given the Iraq debate - about facing a big decision on the basis of information that then turned out to be wrong. My favorite is from August 1998 when, with Bill Clinton just three days away from a trip to Moscow, the Central Intelligence Agency reported that President Boris Yeltsin of Russia was dead. (NY Times)

Problems Plague Iraq Trial One of the first acts of the new Iraqi government was to demonstrate its commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law by bringing Saddam Hussein before the Iraqi special tribunal. (USA Today)

Bush and Blair Keep Howling About Saddam Last month a New York Times poll found that 20 percent of Americans believed that President Bush was "mostly lying" in his statements about the war in Iraq and 59 percent said he was "hiding something." Only 18 percent said he gave Americans the "entire truth." (Boston Globe)

The Sixteen Words, Again Remember the affair of "the sixteen words"? (Washington Post)

Poor Relations With Iran Turning Worse It sounds like an Iraq summer rerun: Weapons of mass destruction. Support for terrorism. Talk of U.N. Security Council action. Hints of a push for regime change. This time, however, the fuss is not over Iraq but about that country's next-door neighbor, Iran. Recent developments have been unsettling. (Newsday)

Can Spy Agencies Ever Work Together? Despite failed attempts to reform intelligence structure in the past, the 9/11 report may ensure change happens this time. (CS Monitor)

'Spy Czar' Isn't the Answer The Democrats push for a big new agency to stop terrorism. President Bush resists for a while, then, as an election looms, embraces it, even though he knows better. That was the scenario with the creation of the Homeland Security Department in fall 2002. And here we may be going again, with proposals to create a new intelligence czar. (LA Times)

Taking a Stand for Moderate Islam (CS Monitor)

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