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Al-Qaeda suspect arrested in Italy
The Daily Telegraph ^ | April 11 2003

Posted on 04/11/2003 9:58:40 AM PDT by knighthawk

ITALIAN police have arrested a Moroccan accused of links to a top al-Qaeda operative seized in Pakistan by the FBI last year, prosecutors in Milan said late today.

Milan magistrate Guido Salvini said Mohamed Daki, 38, with an address in the northern city of Reggio Emilia, was arrested on Sunday.

According to the charge sheet, Daki had contacts with Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged lieutenant of Osama bin Laden credited with planning the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Binalshibh was arrested in Pakistan on the anniversary of the attacks and brought to the United States to stand trial.

Prosecutors said Daki had been living in Reggio Emilia since arriving from Hamburg, Germany, in January.

He is accused of organising a "cell" comprising six other men, who were arrested on April 1, and accused of "plotting with the aim of carrying out acts of violence linked to international terrorism, including in states other than Italy".

The Milan court handling the case said last week the men "are linked to a terrorist organisation whose leader, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, is an important member of the al-Qaeda organisation".

The men have been accused of links to the Ansar al-Islam, a group based in northern Iraq which Washington alleges has connections with al-Qaeda, the organisation blamed for September 11.

They have been in detention since the beginning of the month and have been formally accused on similar charges to Daki.

The Milan court handling the case said the men "are linked to a terrorist organisation, whose leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi is an important member of the al-Qaeda organisation".

They have also been accused of organising the recruitment of "fighters" for Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam), possibly for combating the invading US and British forces in Iraq.

The arrest mandate said the men organised the travel of the recruits to Iraq via Syria, and also assisted by collecting money and arranging false identity papers for the volunteer fighters.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; alqaedaalqaida; alqaedaitaly; alzarqawi; ansaralislam; arrested; arrests; binalshibh; daki; foiled; iraq; italy; milan; milancell; mohameddaki; moroccan; obl; ramzibinalshibh; syria; warlist; zarqawi

1 posted on 04/11/2003 9:58:41 AM PDT by knighthawk
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To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; Squantos; ...
Ping
2 posted on 04/11/2003 9:59:16 AM PDT by knighthawk
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To: All
Byrd Says "Free Republic is Pretty. Pretty Pretty Pretty Pretty. But I want it to be a figment. A Fig Leaf! Fie on Free Republic! Fie on Conservatives!

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3 posted on 04/11/2003 10:03:14 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: knighthawk
I thank God for the continued incredible work by so many officials involved in this massive effort....wherever they serve.
4 posted on 04/11/2003 10:07:12 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: knighthawk
The men have been accused of links to the Ansar al-Islam, a group based in northern Iraq which Washington alleges has connections with al-Qaeda, the organisation blamed for September 11. They have been in detention since the beginning of the month and have been formally accused on similar charges to Daki.

I wonder if this is connected to seizure of the records of Ansar al-Islam in their enclave in Iraq.

5 posted on 04/11/2003 11:20:51 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides; Howlin; MinuteGal
This is amusing in light of my idiot Senator, Graham, making the statement today that our efforts in Iraq have undermined the war on al Qaeda.

Maybe his staffers don't know about Ansar-al-Islam and are feeding him some bad soundbites, but I would think a guy on an important defense-related committee as he is would at least pay attention more.

6 posted on 05/13/2003 10:17:37 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
When Daschle was majority leader, Graham chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee which Shelby now chairs.
7 posted on 05/13/2003 10:22:11 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
Scary, isn't it?
8 posted on 05/13/2003 10:24:40 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: knighthawk; Grampa Dave; Lion's Cub
MILAN CELL BUMP

DIALING DAMASCUS: Is Syria harboring Ansar al-Islam?

9 posted on 05/13/2003 10:31:02 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa; *war_list; W.O.T.; Dog Gone; Grampa Dave; blam; Sabertooth; NormsRevenge; Gritty; ...
Thanks for the link to find this!

Take this Senator Graham!

OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST

10 posted on 05/14/2003 12:25:39 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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The Milan court handling the case said the men "are linked to a terrorist organisation, whose leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi is an important member of the al-Qaeda organisation".

They have also been accused of organising the recruitment of "fighters" for Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam), possibly for combating the invading US and British forces in Iraq.

The arrest mandate said the men organised the travel of the recruits to Iraq via Syria, and also assisted by collecting money and arranging false identity papers for the volunteer fighters.

11 posted on 05/14/2003 12:27:46 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Milan magistrate Guido Salvini said Mohamed Daki, 38, with an address in the northern city of Reggio Emilia, was arrested on Sunday

Graham made his idiotic statement when? I think they probably delay this info to keep the RAT foot inserted firmly in the mouth.

12 posted on 05/14/2003 12:34:19 PM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (Once again, FReeRepublic is show prep for the world)
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To: BOBTHENAILER
The rats are pretty good at keeping their foothold in their own mouths as it is.... early on after 9/11 they kept saying they "weren't informed" about this or that while hoping the public didn't know that Rummy was going over to the hill and briefing them a few times a week... and all the Republicans in those very same briefings were well-informed.

The rats were either telling lies or sleeping through those briefings... take your pick.

13 posted on 05/14/2003 7:50:05 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Grampa Dave; Cindy; Alamo-Girl; Howlin; Miss Marple; Travis McGee; ...
Here's another VERY INTERESTING article from the Los Angeles Times via a Kurdish web site... maybe someone can find these two articles linked on FR somewhere directly from the Times:

Ansar al Islam's European connection : A Road to Ansar Began in Italy

(snip)

One of the group's founding members was Mullah Krekar, who had ties to Bin Laden lieutenants in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is now under investigation in Norway.

In the summer of 2001, he led 300 fighters across northern Iraq into the radical Islamic belt near the Iranian border. Krekar merged with another militant group, Jund al Islam, founded nine days before the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., and in December 2001 the new Ansar spread through villages.

...

The dynamics of the group changed in late 2001 and 2002, when Al Qaeda fighters and what one intelligence official described as "professional" terrorists fled the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and sought sanctuary in the outposts of northern Iraq. Ansar's battle against the PUK widened into a bid for international jihad.

Passports and identity cards retrieved in recent weeks from dead Ansar fighters and from offices in Biyara and other villages show that recruits arrived from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Morocco, Italy, Germany, Canada, Syria and Egypt. Some used several aliases and had residency papers from European countries.

Kurdish intelligence officials assert that Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian who allegedly masterminded Bin Laden's chemical weapons unit, briefly traveled to northern Iraq last year and assisted Ansar in compiling chemical agents, including ricin, a poison derived from castor plant beans that causes respiratory failure.

A senior U.S. official said recently there may be a connection between Ansar and the Algerians arrested last winter in London with ricin. European officials dispute this allegation and, so far, ricin has not been detected at Ansar bases.

Some Western officials are skeptical that Zarqawi visited Ansar, but phone intercepts by Italian and U.S. intelligence suggest that there were elements of his network in Iraqi territory.

...

The U.S. is tracing a possible link between Hussein's regime and Ansar, but it has not made a solid connection. Much of the investigation centers on one man, Abu Wael, who joined Ansar in 2001 and, according to U.S. intelligence, was Hussein's secret liaison between Baghdad and Ansar. U.S. officials say that Wael and other Ansar members traveled through Baghdad and met with "high-ranking" government members.

...

from part 2...

Days before the fall of the Ansar al Islam terrorist group in northern Iraq last month, an alleged Ansar militant named Noureddine Drissi got an urgent call on his satellite phone from his imam.

The call came from an unlikely place: this comfortable northern Italian town of 70,000 known for its 13th century bell tower, Christmas sweets and violin-making workshops that preserve the delicate artistry of Antonio Stradivari.

But on the clandestine map of Islamic terrorist networks, Cremona was closer than it seemed to the Iraqi village of Kurmal in Ansar's mountain stronghold. Drissi, a Tunisian immigrant, had left his job as the librarian of a mosque in Cremona three months earlier and made the journey to a terrorist training camp near Kurmal, authorities say. Italian police wiretapped his long-distance conversations with the religious leader in Cremona who had allegedly sent Drissi and other recruits to join Ansar's holy war.

...

Investigators say the case offers a picture of how Al Qaeda sought to transform Ansar's Iraqi stronghold into a substitute, on a smaller scale, for the Afghan camps to which the terrorist network had sent aspiring holy warriors before the U.S. defeated the Taliban in late 2001. After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, members of a network commanded by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a top Al Qaeda figure, fled to the Russian republic of Chechnya and northeastern Iraq. U.S. and European investigators say Zarqawi's specialists used a camp in the village of Sargat, near Kurmal, to experiment with cyanide poisons, toxic gas and ricin, a castor bean extract that can be used as a biological weapon.

The investigation is said to have revealed an active role in Ansar plotting by suspected terrorists based in Syria and Iran — countries seen as potential targets in the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

Syria was a hub for recruits moving between Europe and Ansar's Iraqi stronghold, according to court documents. Overseers in the Damascus area apparently coordinated the flow of recruits and gave orders by phone to operatives in Europe. The suspected bosses in Syria include fugitives with ties to the Hamburg, Germany, cell that plotted the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, as well as to the car-bomb attack on Israelis in Kenya in November, Italian authorities say.

Iran also served as a prime route for recruits bound for the Ansar camps and as a headquarters for Zarqawi, investigators say. Especially after the defeat of Ansar, Iran has become a refuge for fugitive leaders of Al Qaeda, according to court documents. Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's top deputy, has gone into hiding in Iran, as have Zarqawi and his top lieutenants, Italian investigators say.


These are just excerpts since I don't know how much can be posted from the LA Times. I heartily recommend taking a look at the entire 2-part article as it has much detail on al-Qaeda & Ansar al Islam relating to Italy, Syria, Iran and Iraq.

14 posted on 05/14/2003 8:40:53 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: BOBTHENAILER; knighthawk
fyi
15 posted on 05/14/2003 8:41:58 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
Good info!

The LA Times sure didn't think there was a proven link to Saddam and this group though!
16 posted on 05/14/2003 9:41:45 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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Reggio Emilia

17 posted on 05/14/2003 9:48:36 PM PDT by Consort
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To: MinuteGal; Cindy; Travis McGee; Squantos; Howlin
Bear in mind that rat presidential wanabee and my (!) Senator Graham doesn't seem to think it was worthwhile going into Iraq even though Zarqawi - who had sought refuge after Afghanistan among Ansar al Islam (the same folks who appear to be tied to the London ricin plot and to the Milan Al Qaeda cell) and Zarqawi's al Qaeda co-conspirators, are all interlinked with this other story that didn't get too much play... the murder of the American diplomat Laurence Foley, a 60-year-old administrator for the US Agency for International Development in Jordan in 2002.

The mastermind of that attack was a Libyan, Salem bin Suweid, and he's the one who fired the shots that killed Foley. Half of the suspects involved are linked to Zarqawi (aka Ahmed al-Khalayleh) of al Qaeda fame.

Zarqawi was smuggled into Lebanon from Syria last year to meet with foley's murderer. (The Libyan, Suweid, has operated out of Syria for some years.)

See 11 terror suspects charged in Jordan

18 posted on 05/14/2003 9:50:31 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
See my other post above...

Zarqawi traveled directly through Baghdad; why he would do that if he was only trying to secretly meet with Ansar al Islam is curious, as Iraq's security services would be sure to nab him. Why not go straight to Ansar?

After dropping by Baghdad and then Ansar he is thought to have gone to Syria. Ansar al-Islam had two leaders which were both members of Iraq's security services. One was an old fart but the other I'm not sure of, at least one thought of Hussein in very warm terms. Ansar al-Islam was also doing an incredible service for Iraq by fighting Saddam Hussein's arch enemies, PUK. (Note there is a lack of effort on their part to plot against Hussein) There is no reason Hussein wouldn't be overjoyed to have them in northern Iraq so long as PUK was in Northern Iraq. If PUK was defeated, he might take a different view, but Ansar al Islam was not yet a threat to him and if anything was quite useful.

The main reason some keep discounting the connection is the same reason as they keep discounting Iraq's interest in Bin Laden (which now seems to be established since documents have come to light of Iraq courting bin Laden and arranging meetings between al Qaeda and Iraqi officials in Baghdad. ) They rely on Mullah Krekar's (Al Ansar's founder) comments where he called Saddam Hussein "an infidel." That's their argument in a nutshell. In some people's view, infidels and Islamic fundamentalists can never ever cooperate, particularly if at least one group leader call the other names. Never mind that the fundamentalist group has no record of attacking the infidel's forces, but quite a record of attacking the infidel's enemies. Never mind the enemy of my enemy thing which has been a great uniter of otherwise divergent interests through time. And it's possible that when al Ansar morphed recently due to its influx of al Qaeda personnel fleeing Afghanistan, that Krekar lost some control over his organization to the new Al Qaeda personnel- assuming his Saddam-is-an-infidel comment was ever such a firm principle that he would bar cooperation. That hasn't been established.

I doubt we're going to find clear links like some sort of written out chain of command- I don't know why anyone would expect any terrorist group- much less a state sponsor with much at stake- would want to risk being "clear and transparent." Iraq was acting as the hub or middle man between smugglers, terrorist groups and terror states and for obvious reasons middlemen like deniability and discretion. Dealing smuggled goods such as arms and oil through front companies, and facilitating terrorists' movements so that they could- in the process of doing what they naturally do- strike enemies of Iraq as well as their own, are things best kept concealed. Iraq had no reason to let one hand know what the other was up to in any of its dealings, any more than drug smugglers don't help the buyers meet up with their suppliers, or each other.

Instead of following the money, it's sometimes useful to follow other benefits. Who benefitted most from Al Ansar up until this moment? Saddam Hussein, of course. Al Qaeda benefitted to a slightly lesser degree in that they had a refuge with Ansar, but why would Al Qaeda care about taking out PUK, but not be active in taking out Hussein as well?

This suggests, IMHO, that there is something to the idea that Al Ansar and Hussein had at the least a mutual understanding of sorts.

But we don't need the link to al Ansar itself. Al Ansar is a new kid on the block and more recently was transformed via the addition of al Qaeda personnel direct from Afghanistan and also imported from elsewhere and placed at its core. Zarqawi is al Qaeda, and more than that, Iraqi intel officials did indeed arrange for a hotel stay & travel arrangements for bin Laden when he was based in Khartoum, Sudan in the nineties which indicates Iraq and al Qaeda go back a bit further than Zarqawi. An Iraqi diplomat is reported to have visited bin Laden in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and he left his diplomatic post right around 9/11 and returned to Iraq. Another Iraqi, by the name of Shakir, attended the Malaysia meeting also attended by the al Qaeda conspirators who planned 9/11, and this man also traveled back to Iraq from the UAE (I believe it was the UAE) - though intercepted and detained for a bit in Jordan. His phone calls or numbers in his possession correspond to those used by al Qaeda. And we have the murder of the US Green Beret & Filipinos in the Philippines (October 2002?) where the conspirators called an Iraqi diplomat just after they carried out the bombing.

19 posted on 05/14/2003 10:45:54 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
I take that back- Shakir had traveled from Malaysia to Yemen to Qatar- not the UAE.
20 posted on 05/14/2003 10:55:45 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
Or some itinerary like that - also, he'd been to Pakistan. All those trips had gotten Jordan's attention but they let him go and he disappeared.
21 posted on 05/14/2003 10:59:11 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
Thanks for the information!
22 posted on 05/14/2003 11:02:59 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: knighthawk; piasa; backhoe; kattracks
GOOGLE Search Term: "MOHAMED DAKI"
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22Mohamed+Daki%22&btnG=Google+Search

GOOGLE Search Term: "ANSAR AL ISLAM"
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22ANSAR+AL-ISLAM%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&filter=0

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: "ATTACK ON AMERICA!"
http://www.truthusa.com/911.html
23 posted on 05/14/2003 11:03:40 PM PDT by Cindy
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To: piasa
re post no. 18...

GOOGLE Search Term: "Suweid"
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Suweid%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&start=90&sa=N
24 posted on 05/14/2003 11:41:55 PM PDT by Cindy
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To: Cindy
(I have no idea what the Ministry of Awqaf is)

SEPTEMBER 17, 2001 : (IRAQI SHAKIR ARRESTED IN QATAR) Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, an Iraqi and employee of the Qatari Ministry of Awqaf, was arrested by the Qatar authorities and reportedly ill-treated while being interrogated. He was not charged with any offence and was released from detention. - Amnesty International

SEPTEMBER 17, 2001 : (IRAQI SHAKIR HELD BY QATAR, LET GO) Six days after September 11, Qatari authorities picked him up for questioning – but let him go. Yet a search of Shakir's apartment in Doha, the country's capital, yielded a treasure trove, including telephone records linking him to suspects in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and Project Bojinka, a 1994 Manila plot to blow up civilian airlines over the Pacific Ocean. U.S. officials found an even more startling link, according to intelligence documents obtained by NEWSWEEK: Shakir had been present at a January 2000 Qaeda "summit" in Malaysia that was attended by two of the 9-11 hijackers. Authorities believe that the summit may have been a planning session for both the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole and 9-11. Shakir quickly left Qatar. - "AL QAEDA'S MAN IN IRAQ?, " Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman with Mark Hosenball and Steve Tuttle, © 2002 Newsweek, Inc.

25 posted on 05/15/2003 10:15:27 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
Thanks for the interesting info. Just got back into town.
26 posted on 05/19/2003 6:51:01 AM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (Once again, FReeRepublic is show prep for the world)
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To: knighthawk
Molto bene!
27 posted on 05/19/2003 6:55:05 AM PDT by tractorman
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