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May 11, 2012

Suicide bomb plot leak worries security experts

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) – Counter-terrorism experts
expressed concern on Friday over U.S. leaks about an undercover
operation that foiled a suicide bomb plot, saying its exposure
may deter agents from volunteering for the risky job of
infiltrating al Qaeda’s network.

While electronic methods are increasingly used in espionage
operations of all kinds, human intelligence remains crucial
because al Qaeda’s best operatives try to avoid the use of any
electronic communications to minimise the chance of detection.

May 8, 2012

Qaeda bomber adept at breaching aviation security

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) – A Saudi bombmaker believed behind
several failed but ingenious attempted attacks on the West is
the most likely creator of an improved “underwear bomb”
discovered in a plot foiled by U.S. and allied authorities,
security experts and officials say.

Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who once provided the bomb for a
suicide mission by his younger brother, a fellow militant, is
described by security officials as one of the most dangerous and
innovative explosives experts ever to serve al Qaeda.

May 1, 2012

UK plans Olympic security steps to tepid welcome

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – As Britain gears up for a big
Olympic security exercise between May 2 and 9, Londoners are
casting a cool eye at the multiple measures deemed necessary to
protect the hundreds of thousands of people expected to visit
Olympic venues.

While many are resigned to tougher security as just one more
inconvenience in a city handicapped by overcrowded, ageing
infrastructure, some have bristled, especially at a proposal to
put surface-to-air missiles on civilian buildings.

Apr 26, 2012

Crime, disorder are main Olympic risks – UK official

LONDON (Reuters) – Crime and disorder similar to Britain’s 2011 summer riots are the most likely serious threats to the London Olympics although Islamist militants and al Qaeda offshoot groups pose a growing challenge, a British official said on Wednesday.

Charles Farr, Director-General of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism at the Home Office (interior ministry), told a security conference that while al Qaeda’s south Asia-based core leadership had weakened following the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, the clout of its offshoot groups was rising.

Apr 25, 2012

Olympics-Crime, disorder are main Olympic risks – UK official

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) – Crime and disorder similar to
Britain’s 2011 summer riots are the most likely serious threats
to the London Olympics although Islamist militants and al Qaeda
offshoot groups pose a growing challenge, a British official
said on Wednesday.

Charles Farr, Director-General of the Office for Security
and Counter-Terrorism at the Home Office (interior ministry),
told a security conference that while al Qaeda’s south
Asia-based core leadership had weakened following the death of
Osama bin Laden in 2011, the clout of its offshoot groups was
rising.

Mar 22, 2012

“Lone wolf” gunmen are security puzzle for West

LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) – The possibility that a killing
rampage by a French gunman was a solo campaign will inject fresh
urgency into Western efforts to detect “self-starter” or “lone
wolf” terrorists before they strike.

The tactic Al Qaeda calls “individual jihad” — low-tech
attacks by untrained sympathisers acting largely or completely
on their own — may seem a sign of weakness in an organisation
that mounted the team-based raids of Sept 11, 2001.

Mar 17, 2012

U.S. fighter in Somalia says threatened by fellow militants

NAIROBI (Reuters) – An influential American fighter for Somalia’s al Shabaab rebels, who has in the past urged Western-backed Muslims to join the group, has dismayed radical Islamists by saying his life is under threat from fellow guerrillas due to internal disputes.

Experts on Somalia said the video by Omar Hammami suggested splits over ideology and strategy were weakening al Shabaab, which joined al Qaeda in February and is fighting to topple Somalia’s weak interim government.

Mar 6, 2012

Analysis: For Putin, dumping ally Assad may be step too far

LONDON (Reuters) – As veteran mediator Kofi Annan prepares to visit Damascus to try to rein in Syria’s turmoil, he could be forgiven for thinking his time would be far more usefully spent in Moscow, the Arab state’s old strategic ally.

Analysts say Russia is the one outside power that could determine whether the March 10 mission by the joint UN-Arab League special envoy prevents a fragmented global response from degenerating into a violent scramble for regional supremacy.

Feb 28, 2012

Analysis: Somali reform rush may be militant lifeline

LONDON (Reuters) – Weakened on the battlefield, Somalia’s al Shabaab militants may yet survive, and even prosper from, a reinvigorated Western and African push to rebuild arguably the world’s most deeply war-damaged nation.

But if there is a future for the radical Islamists, it won’t be thanks to the merger they announced on February 9 with al Qaeda, the militant network in disarray a decade on from the September 11 attacks following a remorseless U.S. counter-terrorism campaign.

Feb 24, 2012

Breakaway Somaliland entity targets investors

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – The breakaway enclave of
Somaliland, which boasts oil and gas potential, has set up a
UK-linked corporation to act as an entry point for investors
concerned the Somali territory’s lack of international
recognition would stop contracts being enforced.

On a visit to London to attend a conference on Somalia,
President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo told Reuters that the purpose of
the Somaliland Development Corporation was to “to attract
companies and institutions which want to invest in our country.”