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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)
  • 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)

  • 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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India 2nd in Government Requests for Users’ Data on Facebook

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018

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FILE - A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The Indian government requested Facebook to provide data for 20,805 users (including 861 emergency requests) — second only to the US government — in the July-December 2018 period and the social networking giant provided some data in 53 per cent of the cases.

During the second half of 2018, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally by 135 per cent — from 15,337 to 35,972.

“This increase was primarily driven by 16,600 items we restricted in India based on a Delhi High Court order regarding claims made about PepsiCo products,” said Facebook in its latest Transparency Report for the second half of 2018.

The US government asked for users’ data in 41,336 cases wherein Facebook provided some information in 88 per cent of the cases.

“In the second half of 2018, government requests for user data increased globally by seven per cent from 103,815 to 110,634,” Chris Sonderby, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, said in a statement late Thursday.

“Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the UK, Germany and France,” he added.

In a separate post, Facebook said it removed more than three billion fake accounts in the October 2018-March 2019 period, saying that about 5 per cent of its monthly active users were fake.

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Facebook disabled 1.2 billion accounts in Q4 2018 and 2.19 billion in Q1 2019.

“For fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, said in a blog post.

According to Rosen, for every 10,000 times people who view content on Facebook, 11 to 14 views contained content that violate the platform’s adult nudity and sexual activity policy.

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018.

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“This half, India accounted for 85 per cent of total new global disruptions,” the company informed.

In this period, on Facebook and Instagram, the company took down 2,595,410 pieces of content based on 511,706 copyright reports; 215,877 pieces of content based on 81,243 trademark reports; and 781,875 pieces of content based on 62,829 counterfeit reports.

“In Q1 2019, we took action on about 900,000 pieces of drug sale content, of which 83.3 per cent we detected pro-actively. In the same period, we took action on about 670,000 pieces of firearm sale content, of which 69.9 per cent we detected pro-actively,” added Rosen. (IANS)