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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Al Qaeda Head in Africa

Al-Qaeda 'kills British hostage'

Downing Street says there is "strong reason to believe" that a British citizen has been killed by al-Qaeda militants in north-west Africa.

Edwin Dyer was kidnapped in Niger in January, but was being held in Mali.

The group had said it would kill Mr Dyer if the British government refused to release radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada from a UK prison.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemned what he called an "appalling and barbaric act of terrorism".

He later told the Commons: "I want those who use terror against this country, and against British citizens, to know beyond doubt that they will be hunted down and brought to justice.

"There will be no hiding place for them and no safe haven for terrorists who attack our country."

Abu Qatada is awaiting extradition to Jordan, where he was convicted of terrorism offences in his absence and faces life in jail.


Mr Dyer, who spoke fluent German and had been working in Austria, was kidnapped in Niger on 22 January, close to the border with Mali.

He was captured along with a number of other European tourists, including two Swiss and one German. The group had been visiting the Anderamboukane festival on nomad culture.

Hostage-taking and murder can never be justified whatever the cause
Foreign Secretary David Miliband

Hostages and limits on negotiations
Profile: Al-Qaeda in North Africa

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mr Brown said: "We have strong reason to believe that a British citizen, Edwin Dyer, has been murdered by an al-Qaeda cell in Mali.

"I utterly condemn this appalling and barbaric act of terrorism.

"My thoughts are with Edwin Dyer's family. I offer them the condolences of the whole country."

Mr Brown said the killing reinforced Britain's "commitment to confront terrorism".

"It strengthens our determination never to concede to the demands of terrorists, nor to pay ransoms," he added.

Tory leader David Cameron backed the prime minister's stance.

He told MPs: "This must be a simply horrific time for his family and I'm sure everyone in the country is thinking about them," he said.

"In spite of all the difficulties, though, the prime minister is right; we must never give into terrorists."

Most of the other hostages have been released, but one Swiss man remains in captivity and the British government urged the kidnappers to release him "immediately and unconditionally".
Map of Niger and Mali

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said Mr Dyer was believed to have been kidnapped by local tribesmen and sold on to Algerian members of al-Qaeda in Mali.

British officials had been using intermediaries to try to secure Mr Dyer's release, our correspondent said.

Other European countries are understood to have paid ransoms to secure their hostages' release, but the British government has a blanket policy against such methods, he added.

No further details about Mr Dyer have been released by the Foreign Office.

No travel

The militants posted a statement on an Islamist website announcing the killing.

"The British captive was killed so that he, and with him the British state, may taste a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of the Crusader and Jewish coalition to the east and to the west," it said.

In a posting last month, the group said Abu Qatada must be released within 20 days or Mr Dyer would be killed.

The Foreign Office advises against all travel to parts of Mali and Niger. Its website states that there is "a high threat of kidnapping" and a "high threat from terrorism", especially in the border region.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: "Hostage-taking and murder can never be justified whatever the cause.

"This tragic news is despite the strenuous efforts of the UK team in the UK and Mali, with valuable help from international partners."
Abu Qatada, file image
Abu Qatada is awaiting extradition to Jordan, where he faces life in jail

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs said it condemned "this extreme violation of human dignity".

"Our thoughts are with the grieving relatives in Great Britain and the relatives of the Swiss hostage who continue to hope with all their hearts for the speedy release and return of their loved one," it said in a statement.

"No true religion and no world view dedicated to the well-being of all humans can condone the killing of innocent people."

Abu Qatada was once described as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe".

He was granted asylum in the UK in 1994, but went on the run in 2001 on the eve of government moves to introduce new anti-terror laws allowing suspects to be detained without charge or trial.

In October 2002, he was caught and taken to Belmarsh Prison, but was freed on bail in March 2005, subject to a control order.

He was taken back into custody in August that year and held until June 2008. After another short period of freedom, he was detained again in December last year and remains in Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire, pending extradition.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari,, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the "senseless murder" of Mr Dyer was "unforgivable".

"There can be no possible justification for this appalling action," he added.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 02:26 PM
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Yeah, I just heard that ol' Binnie-boy is upset about his homies getting swatted in the valley (below).

Which made me wonder, what would be his response if we simply asked him what it is he wants and expects of the rest of the world and the US in particular? Would there be any rationality to what he wants or just more boring, mindless hate-filled drivel?

Bin Laden threatens Americans in new tape
Terror leader criticizes Obama over 'destruction' in Pakistan's Swat Valley

June 3, 2009

CAIRO - Osama bin Laden has threatened Americans in a new audio tape, saying President Barack Obama inflamed hatred toward the U.S. by ordering Pakistan to crack down on militants in Swat Valley and block Islamic law in the area.

Bin Laden claimed U.S. pressure led to a campaign of "killing, fighting, bombing and destruction" that prompted the exodus of a million Muslims from Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan.

The message was broadcast for the first time Wednesday on pan-Arab Al-Jazeera Television at almost the same moment Obama touched down in Saudi Arabia at the start of a Mideast visit aimed at repairing frayed U.S. relations with the Muslim world.

Pakistan's army launched its offensive to oust the Taliban in late April after a peace deal that gave them control of the the Swat Valley soured. Militants streamed out of their stronghold to take over neighboring areas.

Bin Laden said Obama had ordered Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to stop people in the Swat Valley from practicing Islamic law.

"This means simply that Obama and his administration planted new seeds for hatred and revenge against America," bin Laden said. "With that Obama has followed the same footsteps as the last president to create more hatred against Muslims.

"Let Americans prepare to reap what the leaders of the White house sow."

The battle for Swat is seen by Washington as a test of Pakistan's resolve against militants in the northwestern border region with Afghanistan.

The United States strongly backs the campaign, and it has enjoyed broad support among Pakistanis tired of militant attacks in the country that have killed hundreds of civilians.

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Wednesday that it was "ludicrous" to suggest that anyone but al-Qaida and the Taliban are responsible for the refugee crisis in Pakistan.

Pakistan says about 3 million people have been uprooted from their homes by a month-old campaign to drive militants out of the northwestern Swat valley.

The military claims to have killed more than 1,000 Taliban fighters, a figure that cannot be independently verified, and says more than 50 soldiers have also died.

Meanwhile, Pakistani commanders said Wednesday that the military offensive to expel the Taliban from the Swat Valley could take another two months to complete, and troops may have to stay for a year to prevent militants from retaking control.

The armed forces have secured control over several key towns in the volatile northwestern region, but the fighting has triggered a series of suspected reprisal attacks elsewhere in the country.
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