måndag, april 16, 2007

Hur många kom undan?

Svenske självmordsbombaren Mirsad "Maximus" Bektasevic hade omfattande kommunikation med mannen som kallats Al Qaidas webmaster, Younis Tsouli, på nätet kallad Irhabi007. Det berättar Los Angeles Times i en fyra (!) sidor lång artikel om det terroristnätverk som nystades upp i och med gripandet av svensken.

Några utdrag ur artikeln:

They never met face to face, but the two young zealots became brother warriors in the new land of jihad: the Internet.

Investigators say their bond made them central figures in a terrorism network that spanned eight countries, involved more than 30 suspects and hatched plots in Washington, Toronto, London and Sarajevo.

Maximus was the online moniker of Mirsad Bektasevic, a lanky Bosnian refugee with a dark stare and a hunger for action. At 18, he returned from Sweden to this war-scarred city, where he assembled an arsenal for a suicide attack and filmed a "martyrdom" video.

Irhabi007 was Younis Tsouli, a Moroccan living in London with his diplomat father, investigators say. Hunched day and night over his computer, the diminutive 22-year-old allegedly served as a pioneering cyber-operative for Al Qaeda, oversaw Bektasevic's mission and was at the hub of other plots.

Their case shows that the Internet has become a virtual training camp and operations center replacing the Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and Bosnia that produced a legion of fighters, formed them into cells and launched them at targets...

...Bektasevic's family fled to Sweden at the start of the war when he was 5, and he lived with his widowed mother on welfare. Most Bosnians practice a tolerant Islam, but some refugees in Scandinavia have been swept up by extremism that has spread among young Muslims there. At about 13, Bektasevic grew interested in his religious heritage after memorizing a Koranic verse to pray at the funeral of a friend.

"This was the thing that change [sic] my heart," he later told interrogators. "I liked it and I wanted to know more."

The pimply teenager dropped out of school after ninth grade and racked up juvenile arrests. He spent six hours a day on the Internet, soaking up rage and gore. On a radical website, he befriended half a dozen teenagers in Denmark. Their families were Palestinian, Moroccan, Turkish, Bosnian; after the youths visited an extremist cleric in London in 2004, Danish intelligence put them under surveillance.

Bektasevic drifted to Copenhagen, where he slept at a mosque and became a leader of the group. In the summer of 2005, they filmed a video declaring themselves "Al Qaeda in Northern Europe." It featured a logo allegedly designed by a long-distance associate: Irhabi007.

The word means "terrorist" in Arabic...

...Bektasevic first stayed at a cheap hostel in Sarajevo, a city he knew from family vacations. Although his uncle gave him the keys to the house near the garbage dump, he chose to sleep in an apartment across town that he rented under an assumed name.

On Oct. 7, he phoned Abdul Basit Abu-Lifa, 17, a baby-faced Palestinian Dane with shoulder-length curls.

"Try to get more money because I think, thank God, brother, I have found some really good stuff, you know?" Bektasevic said, according to a Danish wiretap transcript. The intercepted calls to Copenhagen also referred to "the trainees" and "the best place to do you know what."

In his search for explosives, Bektasevic enlisted two friends who worked at a halal grill. He met them in 2003 after prayers at the King Fahd Islamic Center, a big Saudi mosque that draws Muslim radicals...

...Bajro Ikanovic was 27: bearded and bear-like, he had returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina and found Islam after a series of criminal escapades in France. He was trying to reform his friend, Amir Bajric, 25, a fast-talking ex-convict with striking gray eyes. Despite the likeness of Osama bin Laden tattooed on his chest, Bajric had a weakness for alcohol and women.

The grill belongs to a meat company run by former foreign fighters. It is among the Muslim businesses targeted by Bosnian authorities investigating the underworld of arms and extremism that is a legacy of war, officials say.

In mid-October, the Copenhagen crew sent help. But it wasn't Abu-Lifa, whose father sensed trouble and confiscated his passport. Instead, Abdelkader Cesur, 18, a pudgy Turk who spoke confident English, got on a bus for Sarajevo despite a warning from Danish intelligence agents that his radicalism was going to get him in trouble.

Two days after the Turk arrived, Tsouli called Bektasevic from London, prosecutors say. Three days after that, on Oct. 19, 2005, the two Bosnians handed over more than 40 pounds of explosives in a metal strongbox from an abandoned military base...

...Alerted by Danish intelligence, police had shadowed the two since their arrival and decided to nab them as soon as they got their hands on explosives.

"We found a detonator in the suicide belt," said Ifo Sako, chief of counter-terrorism for the Bosnian federal police. "Only a crazy individual, or someone about to do something, keeps a detonator hooked up to explosives."

Police also arrested Bajric, Ikanovic and a third Bosnian. A search turned up a video of a masked Bektasevic and another man posing with rifles, bomb timers, ammunition and a grenade-launcher.

"These weapons are going to be used against Europe, against those whose forces are in Iraq and Afghanistan," Bektasevic declared in the video.

But police could not find those weapons or identify the second man. Bektasevic had conducted reconnaissance on international troop contingents, investigators say, but his exact target in a city full of foreign troops, embassies and relief agencies remains unclear.

Intelligence officials had wanted to keep watching the young suspects, said Vjek Vukovic, an assistant security minister who is leading a crackdown that recently stripped more than 300 foreign suspected militants of their passports. But the police insisted on quick arrests, he said.

"I am sure the network was much bigger," he said. "Who knows how many got away?"
Notera att artikeln säger att det var dansk säkerhetstjänst som tipsade den bosniska, till skillnad från vad som har stått i svensk press, att det var Säpo som låg bakom tipset. Vi får sannolikt aldrig veta.

Läs hela artikeln. Och begrunda vad Vjek Vukovic säger i citatet ovan: "Who knows how many got away?"