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New Al-Qaida Video Commemorates 9/11 Attacks, Urges Muslim Community to Fight US

The official also said that while al-Qaida still poses a threat to the United States, core al-Qaida has been "decimated," with its leaders preoccupied with internal squabbling

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9/11 Terrorist Attack on World Trade Attack in USA. Image source: youtube.com
  • In the video, Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also said that the 9/11 attacks returned the balance between Islam and its enemies
  • In Washington, Many US intelligence officials were aware of the video and disregarded it, saying that their key focus is on ISIL and the war in Syria
  • But some officials from the intelligence community feel that Al-Qaida may still be a threat

Al-Qaida is calling on Muslims to join the terror group’s fight against the United States as it marks the 15th anniversary of the deadly September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In a video released Friday on the internet titled “The Defiers of Injustice,” al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said the 9/11 attacks “returned the balance” between Islam and what it called its materialistic Crusader enemies, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Zawahiri said the attacks reminded Muslims of their power and their “potential to deter aggression.” He also noted ongoing racial disparities in the U.S. and urged black Americans to convert to Islam.

U.S. intelligence officials said they were aware of the video, though at least one official sought to downplay the significance, calling Zawahiri a “marginal figure” fighting for relevance.

Source:VOA
FILE – This still image from video obtained Oct. 26, 2012, courtesy of the Site Intelligence Group, shows al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking in a video, from an undisclosed location, released by al-Qaida’s media arm, as-Sahab. Image source: VOA

The official also said that while al-Qaida still poses a threat to the United States, core al-Qaida has been “decimated,” with its leaders preoccupied with internal squabbling.

Threat factor

Other members of the U.S. intelligence community have been less inclined to dismiss the threat from al-Qaida, however, even though it has been overshadowed by the Islamic State terror group.

During testimony before Congress, this past July, National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen called al-Qaida and its affiliates “a principle counterterrorism priority.”

“We would not tier our priorities in such a way that downgrades al-Qaida in favor of a greater focus on ISIL,” he said in his written testimony, using an acronym for Islamic State. “When we are looking at the terrorism threats that we face as a nation, including to the homeland, al-Qaida still figures prominently.”

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Some U.S. counterterrorism officials also have voiced concern about al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen — al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — which has taken advantage of 16 months of civil war to solidify safe havens in several provinces.

U.S. Homeland Security officials also have warned that al-Qaida still has its sights set on more 9/11-style attacks, again using commercial airplanes to hit symbolic targets.

U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI Director James Comey (L-R) testify before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2016. Source: VOA
U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI Director James Comey (L-R) testify before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2016.
Source: VOA

“Al-Qaida, in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIL continue to see an attack on aviation as an important part of their strategy,” the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, Brigadier General Francis Taylor, said last month during a talk in Washington.

“[We] have clear indications that our enemies are trying to perfect ways of introducing explosives and other devices onto aircraft for the purpose of destroying them in midflight,” he added.

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham

Other U.S. intelligence officials also remain concerned about Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which recently formed out of what used to be known as Jabhat al-Nusra, the key al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.

While the new group has renounced its ties with al-Qaida, some intelligence officials and analysts remain skeptical the move was anything more than a stunt to shift public opinion.

Others point to al-Qaida’s ability to survive the onslaught it faced from Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere as a sign the terror organization is anything but decimated.

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“Al-Qaida has emerged from this having survived the challenge [from IS] definitively,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Lingering problem

He also said the new video from al-Qaida leader Zawahiri is neither “a sign of a collapsed organization” nor a sign of a group struggling for relevance.

“It’s the kind of thing you would expect,” said Gartenstein-Ross.

“Underestimating these foes can lead to terrible errors in policy,” he warned. (VOA)

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Such disgust! Its rather painful that some people between us think that causing terror attacks can have religious significance.

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President of Egypt Calls for Collective Action Against Countries Supporting Terrorism

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Terrorism egypt
The president of Egypt Urges world leaders to take decisive action against states supporting terrorism. Pixabay

Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.

The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.

Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi Egypt
The President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. VOA

The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the U.S., Britain and Canada.

The Sahel region is home to al-Qaida and Islamic State group-linked militants. El-Sissi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.

Egypt has for years been battling an Islamic State-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.

Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.

Since Morsi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.

Upcoming conference

El-Sissi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He did not elaborate.

Egypt
This photo provided by the office of Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, dignitaries including Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, gather, for a photo during a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Egypt. VOA

He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”

El-Sissi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.

After the 2011 civil war, Libya split in two, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival government in the east aligned with the Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

Maritime border agreement 

El-Sissi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

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Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.

Hifter has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital.  He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy. (VOA)