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France Terrorist Attack: how a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) bomb-maker just missed Joining the Attack with ISIS

LeT operative Muhammed Usman failed to reach the French capital in time for the terrorist attack that killed 130 people because Greece had detained him

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Fans comfort each other after descending onto the playing field in Stade de France stadium at the end of the friendly soccer match between France and Germany in Saint Denis, outside Paris, Nov. 13, 2015, the night of the terror attacks (VOA)
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  • Paris terrorist attack happened in November, 2015
  • A person named Usman identified as a LeT bomb-maker was suspected to join the attack
  • Two suicide bombers blew themselves in the National stadium in Paris, also targetting other places
  • Usman and fellow had plans for another terrorist strike

An alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) bomb-maker with a penchant for pornography was to have participated in the Islamic State (IS) terrorist strike on Paris in November, 2015, CNN reported on Monday.

But Muhammed Usman failed to reach the French capital in time for the terrorist attack that killed 130 people because Greece had detained him, it said.

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Usman was part of a terror cell controlled by an IS leader called Abu Ahmed that joined the stream of refugees going to Europe in order to launch attacks there, CNN reported.

Investigators in Europe identified Urdu-speaking Usman as a suspected LeT bomb-maker, according to CNN.

The report did not say if there was a direct connection between LeT and IS or if Usman had joined IS on his own. LeT has reportedly been caught in the cross-fire of IS and al-Qaida, with IS criticising LeT as one of the anti-India groups acting on orders of “apostate” Pakistani army.

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LeT created the text-book model for multi-pronged urban terrorist attacks using a very small number of attackers when it carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The IS attack followed a similar strategy using only nine operatives to take huge toll and plunge a metropolis into fear.

Two men from Usman’s group, Ahmad al-Mohammad and Mohamad al-Mahmod, reached Paris and blew themselves up outside the National Stadium during the attacks that also targeted a theatre and a restaurant.

However, Greek authorities found that Usman, who had started out from the IS caliphate-controlled city of Raqqa in Syria, and another terror cell member, Algerian-born Adel Haddadihad, carried forged passports and detained them for a month before setting them free to join the refugee trail.

CNN reported that according to its sources, “Investigators believe that delay was significant; as a result, they would not have a chance to become part of the Paris attacks.”

On their release, Usman and Haddadihad received money arranged by Ahmed and joining the refugee trail eventually reached Salzburg, Austria, where they applied for asylum on Nov 14, a day after the Paris attacks.

According to CNN, “European investigators concluded that Haddadi and Usman were part of the same terror cell as the Paris bombers and, having failed to participate in that bloody day, were planning another strike.”

But before that they could carry out any other attacks, they were arrested at a refugee centre on Dec 10 and eventually extradited to France.

CNN reported that senior European counterterrorism sources said that Haddadi and Usman face terrorism charges.

An examination of Usman’s phone by authorities showed that when not contacting terror leaders and affiliates, he was using his phone to visit about two dozen pornographic sites, including “sexxx lahur” and “Pakistani Lahore college girls … ImakeSex”, CNN said. (IANS)

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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    Laskar-e-taiba is a well connected terror organisation which is planning attacks against India and south-asian countries and now it has reached Europe. The West should realise that LeT are puppets and Pakistan its puppeteer.

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World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

Also Read: British Parliament Access Internal Facebook Data Scandal Papers: Report

Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)