Monday, April 06, 2015

06-Apr-15: Just a day in the life

Nothing obvious has happened to make the past 24 hours especially dangerous in terms of terrorist attacks. So let's assume that what we are seeing via the snippets below is a work in progress: simply a day in the life of a world falling victim to unthinkable violence of a kind most societies are ill-equipped to challenge, let alone thwart. A day among many not-so-different days.

New York
NY Daily News, April 3, 2015
NY Terror Case: Women Wanted an Active Military Role in ISIS 
Stassa Edwards | | April 5, 2015
When Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui were arrested early Thursday morning at their Queens home, officers found pressure cookers, gas tanks, hand-written instructions for bomb making and jihadist pamphlets. According to the AP, Velentzas’ and Siddiqui’s arrest indicates a shift in women’s participation in “militant Islamic jihad.” Unlike women that have previously sought to join terrorist groups, Velentzas and Siddiqui had no interest in the roles traditionally reserved for women: marrying an ISIS fighter or nursing. Rather, the government alleges that the two women wanted to take active an military role by building a bomb and attacking a domestic target.
Accused bomb plotter’s husband says propane tanks were for barbecues
Beckie Strum | New York Post | April 6, 2015
The husband of accused ISIS-savage wannabe Noelle Velentzas insists she really loves America — and says building bombs made out of gas tanks, fertilizer and a pressure cooker was the very furthest thing from her mind. The 51-year-old man, who uses the admitted alias Abu Bakr, was sure the propane tanks authorities found at the home of his wife’s alleged accomplice would never have been used for explosives. “You can’t convince me that those propane tanks were going to be used for that because I know they were going to be used for barbecues,” he claimed... Velentzas did have an image of bin Laden on her phone, Abu Bakr conceded. And he admitted her political views might even “raise a few eyebrows.” But he had an explanation for all of that, too. Her admiration for the man who attacked New York City is based only on the fact that he helped the Afghans to drive out the Russians. “She doesn’t support 9/11,” the husband said... “They took two knives, which I had for more than 15 years,” he said. “They were in a box packed up. They also took two machetes I occasionally use... to clear yards and do gardening.”
...Abu Bakr said he’d never believe the accusations against his wife. “She couldn’t even hit the baby,” he said, referring to their 5-year-old daughter. “I just want people to know that’s not her . . . She never had any intentions of hurting anybody. This is her country, these are her people,” he said. "She’s a role model for women who really, really want to live as God-fearing women," Abu Bakr said proudly. "She’s passionate about her religion."
Malaysia detains 17 people suspected of plotting terror acts
Malaysian police have detained 17 suspected militants who authorities said Monday had planned to attack police stations and army camps to acquire weapons and carry out terrorist acts in Kuala Lumpur. Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said they were detained Sunday. Khalid tweeted that two of them had just returned from Syria. This brought the number of suspected supporters of the Islamic State group arrested since last year to 92, a police official said. Home Minister Zahid Hamidi said the 17, aged between 14 and 44, were planning to attack police stations and army camps to acquire weapons... Authorities also believe the suspects were trying to make bombs as police found notes on bomb-making written by Imam Samudra, an Indonesian who was convicted and executed for his role in carrying out the 2002 Bali bombings, Zahid said. The suspects included two army personnel and two students, and some of them had received militant training in Afghanistan and Indonesia's Sulawesi province... "This is a real threat and prevention measures are needed," Zahid said.
United Kingdom
Boy, 14, and girl, 16, arrested by anti-terror police
The Telegraph UK, April 5, 2015
A 14-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl have been arrested on suspicion of preparing a terror act. Counter-terrorism police detained the boy in Blackburn, Lancashire, before arresting the girl in Manchester the following day. Officers refused to say whether the case was Syria-related... The investigation is being run by the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit and the two youngsters have been bailed to May 28. The boy was arrested on Thursday after police had examined a number of electronic items, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said. The next day, police raided a home in Longsight, Manchester, and detained a 16-year-old girl.
Both are suspected of "engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism". The teenage girl lives with her parents and brothers in a semi detached house in Longsight. A green Nissan Micra was in the driveway of the house yesterday but no one answered the door. A next door neighbour said:" I know the girl very well and she is very nice - she goes to the school where I work. But I do not want to say anything other than they are a very nice family." Another neighbour, who also did not wish to be named, added: "There were police outside and inside the house on Friday and we did not have a clue what was going on. "The girl who was arrested has always been very pleasant to me - we have never had any problems with the family at all. "I used to see her chatting to her brothers outside in the street - they seemed just like normal kids to me." 
Kenya Defence forces soldiers at Garissa University after the
terrorist massacre [Image Source]
Shame of slow response in 15-hour campus terror
The alarm... was sounded at 6 a.m. on Thursday last week. As they gathered, officers of the elite paramilitary unit were informed that a possible terrorist attack had been launched on Garissa University College... They quickly assembled their gear and got ready for deployment... But seven hours later the officers were still in Nairobi. [Our comment: Garissa is 370 km from Nairobi; driving time is about 5 hours at a normal civilized non-emergency rate.] After the long wait, the team would finally leave Wilson Airport after midday and finally enter Elgon hostel on the campus, the terrorists’ last stand, nearly 11 hours later. This was long after the killing had started and a majority of the 142 young Kenyans had been slaughtered by the extremists... On arrival in Garissa, the GSU [Wikipedia defines it as "a paramilitary wing of the Kenya Defence Forces and Kenyan Police, consisting of highly trained police officers and special forces soldiers"] team was briefed on the situation for two hours and when the ones that had travelled by road arrived, they launched the final assault on the terrorists at about 5 p.m., who they are reported to have subdued within half an hour... The Sunday Nation established that prior to the attack, local police had received intelligence of an impending attack... Four police officers were deployed at the university to provide security... Judging by security actions that preceded the attack, it was clear the government was aware of the threat, particularly targeting institutions of higher learning... On Friday, Maj-Gen (rtd) Nkaissery said: “This incident which happened today is one of those incidents which can surprise any country.” 
Security agencies warn of possible terror attack in Delhi
Security agencies have alerted the Delhi Police about the possibility of [Pakistan-based] terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) carrying out a 'fidayeen' attack in the city... Asking the Delhi Police to remain on alert, the advisory said senior police officers, particularly Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCPs), should take all necessary preventive and precautionary measures in their area of jurisdiction in order to avoid any untoward incident, official sources said.

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