September 13th, 2013
12:50 AM ET

Al Qaeda message on 9/11

Americans commemorated this week the loss of those who died at the hands of al Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001. Their leader chimed in a day later with new threats against the United States.

Ayman al-Zawahiri called on his followers in an audio message posted on the Internet on Thursday to "land a large strike on it, even if it takes years of patience for this."

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Boston • Massachusetts • National security • Security • September 11 • Terrorism • World • World Update • Yemen
June 21st, 2013
05:32 AM ET

Spain arrests eight suspects linked to al Qaeda

Security forces arrested eight members of a group linked to al Qaeda on Friday in a Spanish enclave in North Africa, authorities said.

"We have broken up a network responsible for sending combatants to al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups operating in Syria," the Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The suspects were captured in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave that borders Morocco.

Authorities said the network was based in Ceuta and the nearby Moroccan city of Fnideq.

It recruited, trained and paid for terrorists to fight in other countries, authorities said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Spain • Terrorism
April 23rd, 2013
05:56 AM ET

Spain holds 2 suspected of al Qaeda links

Spanish police arrested two suspected al Qaeda terrorists on Tuesday but said they had no indication of an imminent attack.

The Interior Ministry identified the suspects as Nou Mediouni, of "Algerian origin," who was arrested in the north-central city of Zaragoza, and Hassan El Jaaouani, of "Moroccan origin," and arrested in the southeastern city of Murcia.

Spanish police worked with their counterparts in France and Morocco to carry out the latest arrests, the Interior Ministry statement said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Spain • Terrorism
April 23rd, 2013
02:30 AM ET

Suspects in terror plot to appear in court

Two men accused of planning to carry out an al Qaeda-supported attack against a passenger train traveling between Canada and the United States will make their first court appearance on Tuesday, police said.

The hearing in Toronto's Old City Hall Court comes a day after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced they had arrested 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and 35-year-old Raed Jaser of Toronto.

The two men face charges of "receiving support from al Qaeda elements in Iran" to carry out an attack and conspiring to murder people on a VIA railway train in the greater Toronto area, Assistant Police Commissioner James Malizia said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Canada • Terrorism
April 22nd, 2013
06:34 PM ET

Official: Thwarted plot targeted train to U.S.

Canadian authorities have arrested two men accused of planning to carry out an al Qaeda-supported attack against a passenger train traveling between Canada and the United States, a U.S. congressman told CNN on Monday.

"As I understand it, it was a train going from Canada to the U.S.," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, chairman of the counterterrorism and intelligence subcommittee, said.

The news follows an announcement earlier in the day by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that they had arrested Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35.

The two men are charged with "receiving support from al Qaeda elements in Iran" to carry out an attack and conspiring to murder people on a VIA railway train in the greater Toronto area, Assistant Police Commissioner James Malizia said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Canada • Justice • Montreal • Terrorism
March 25th, 2013
01:57 PM ET

U.S. announces terror suspect's plea deal - made in 2011

A man accused of having ties to two terrorist groups pleaded guilty in December 2011 and has been cooperating with the government, the Justice Department revealed Monday.

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame pleaded guilty to nine terrorism charges and could go to prison for the rest of his life.

He was a leader of the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab and arranged a weapons deal with the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Crime • Terrorism
March 20th, 2013
03:54 PM ET

U.S. offers $5M bounties for alleged American terrorists in Somalia

The State Department has put a multimillion-dollar bounty on the heads of two Americans who the United States claims belong to an al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, CNN has learned.

Posters and matchbooks in Somali and English emblazoned with the names and pictures of Omar Shafik Hammami and Jehad Serwan Mostafa tout rewards up to $5 million each for information leading to their arrest or conviction. Both men are on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists List.

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March 20th, 2013
02:29 PM ET

Saudi native charged with fighting for al Qaeda

A federal grand jury in New York has indicted a Saudi native on charges of joining al Qaeda in fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan and conspiring to bomb U.S. diplomatic facilities in Nigeria.

Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, also known as "Spin Ghul," was extradited from Italy to the United States in October.

The six-count indictment accuses him of, among other things, joining al Qaeda after arriving in Afghanistan in 2001, fighting U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003, and traveling to Africa "with the intent to conduct attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Nigeria," according to the office of the U.S attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • New York • Nigeria • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism
Islamists claim Iraq anniversary attacks
March 20th, 2013
04:54 AM ET

Islamists claim Iraq anniversary attacks

An al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility Wednesday for a chain of 24 bombings and two gun attacks in Iraq a day earlier, as the death toll rose to 61.

A statement attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq appeared on extremist websites, calling Tuesday's carnage "retaliation" against Shiite members in government.

Though Iraq has grown safer in the last six years, sectarian violence and instability still grip the country 10 years after the start of the U.S.-led war.

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Al Qaeda says it attacked Syrian convoy
Gunmen attacked a convoy ferrying Syrian soldiers near the western Iraqi town of Ar Rutbah.
March 11th, 2013
03:25 AM ET

Al Qaeda says it attacked Syrian convoy

Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the destruction of a Syrian Army convoy in western Iraq last week that killed some 48 Syrians and nine Iraqi soldiers.

The militant group released a statement on jihadist forums Monday.

The group claims it intercepted the convoy while the Syrian troops were on their way to camps secretly provided by the Iraqi government.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Iraq • Syria
Officials: Bin Laden's son-in-law captured
This frame grab from the Saudi-owned television network MBC shows Suleiman Abu Ghaith.
March 7th, 2013
12:14 PM ET

Officials: Bin Laden's son-in-law captured

[Updated at 3:28 p.m. ET] Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who has served as an al Qaeda spokesman, was captured and has been brought to the United States, two administration officials and a federal law enforcement official said Thursday.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is being held in New York, and will appear in court Friday to face federal charges, the law enforcement official said.

A sealed indictment lays out charges against him, the administration officials said.

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March 1st, 2013
11:52 AM ET

Prominent al Qaeda figure in Mali killed

One of al Qaeda's most influential figures in North Africa has been killed by French and Chadian forces, a U.S. official saidFriday.

French military sources had earlier said that Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, a deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, was killed in an airstrike in Mali late last month.

Abou Zeid was one of the group's most ruthless commanders, having seized at least a dozen foreigners for ransom. At least two have been killed; several French citizens remain captive.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • France • Mali
November 15th, 2012
01:37 PM ET

Man indicted in alleged Federal Reserve bomb plot

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was indicted Thursday on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and trying to provide material support to al Qaeda in a foiled effort to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City.

Nafis - a 21-year-old exchange student - is accused of plotting to detonate a bomb outside of the bank in October.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • National security • New York • Terrorism
October 24th, 2012
08:03 AM ET

3 killed, kids hurt as fury grows over U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

[Updated 9:56 a.m.] An official with the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not authorized to speak on the record, condemned today's attack.  Previously, the ministry has said it lodged a complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad about drone strikes in Pakistani territory on October 10 and 11.  The ministry called those "a clear violation of international law and Pakistan’s sovereignty."

[Posted 8:03 a.m.] Missiles blew up part of a compound Wednesday in northwest Pakistan, killing three people - including one woman - a government official said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Pakistan • Terrorism • U.S. • World
Attack on U.S. mission in Benghazi
September 20th, 2012
02:41 PM ET

Clinton: No sign that Stevens believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she has "absolutely no information or reason to believe there is any basis" to suggest that U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.

The remark came after a source familiar with his thinking told CNN that in the months leading up to his death, Stevens worried about constant security threats in Benghazi and mentioned that his name was on an al Qaeda hit list.

Stevens spoke about a rise in Islamic extremism and al Qaeda's growing presence in Libya, the source said.

The White House, for the first time Thursday, declared the attack that killed Stevens and three other people a terrorist attack.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Libya • Terrorism • World
September 10th, 2012
11:07 AM ET

I didn't recognize bin Laden, SEAL who wrote 'No Easy Day' says

The new book "No Easy Day" by former U.S. Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, who wrote under the name Mark Owen, gained widespread attention because of his firsthand account of how he and other members of SEAL Team Six killed Osama bin Laden.

On Sunday night, Bissonnette shared more of the intimate details of the mission in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."

Bissonnette wore heavy makeup and his voice was disguised as he described what he said was not just a "kill-only" mission, but a chance to capture the mastermind of the September 11 attacks alive, if possible.

FIRST ON CNN: Pentagon double checked actions of SEALs during bin Laden raid

"We weren't sent in to murder him. This was, 'Hey, kill or capture,'" he told interviewer Scott Pelley.  Bissonnette said that in the weeks leading up to the mission, the SEALs trained on a full-size model of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where they would eventually kill bin Laden. It was rare, Bissonnette said, to get 100 chances to train on a mock-up like that for three weeks.

Bissonnette said that while it was the most important mission he would ever be a part of, much of what the team members did was routine, until the moment they could finally exhale, knowing they had killed their biggest target.

Below are some of the most interesting exchanges between Bissonnette and Pelley, according to CBS transcripts, about the preparation for the mission, the raid itself and his reaction to it all when it was finally over.

On how they cleared the house as they hunted for bin Laden after taking early fire:

Matt Bissonnette: Guys start making their way up the stairs. And it's quiet. It's pitch black in the house. No lights. All night vision. Get to the second floor. Intel had said, "Hey, we think that Khalid, his son, lives on the second floor."

Scott Pelley: This is Osama bin Laden's son?

Bissonnette: Yeah. The guy in front of me who is point man, he sees the head pop out and disappear really quick around the corner. He's like, "OK, you know, what who is it? What do you think?" "Yeah, I don't know." He literally whispers, not amped up, not yelling, not anything. He whispers, "Hey, Khalid. Khalid." He whispers Khalid's name. Doesn't know if it's Khalid or not. Khalid literally looks back around the edge of the hall. And he shoots him. What was Khalid thinking at that time? Look around the corner. Curiosity killed the cat. I guess Khalid too.

Pelley: Somebody started shooting at you from inside the house? And the bullets were coming through the door?

Bissonnette: Yep. Immediately, my buddy who was standing up started returning fire. I could yeah, I kind of rolled away from the door, blindly returned fire back through. You couldn't see what was on the other side. And then it went quiet. Thankfully, the SEAL that was there with me, that initially returned fire with me spoke Arabic. So he immediately started calling out to the people inside. Started hearing the metal latch on the inside of the door. Are they gonna come out with a suicide vest? Are they gonna throw a hand grenade out? Are they gonna, you know, spray their AK? Door opens up, a female holding a kid, couple kids right behind her.

Pelley: You got your finger on your trigger and you're looking at a woman with her children?

Bissonnette: Yeah, yeah. Split second. I mean, we had just received fire. My buddy's speaking Arabic. And he's asking her, you know, "Hey, where's your husband? What's going on?" She and and she replies back to him, "He's dead. You shot him."

On how they killed bin Laden,  but weren't sure it was him:

Pelley: Khalid is dead on this landing. The point man is stepping past Khalid. And now, you're No. 2 in the stack. You're right behind the point man?

Bissonnette: Yep. I'm kinda trying to look around him. Hear him take a couple shots. Kind of see a head somebody disappear back into the room.

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August 30th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

Buzz ramps up over SEAL's bin Laden book

It’s already No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Like little kids with the latest Harry Potter sequel, Washington and the rest of the world will be eagerly thumbing through “No Easy Day” when it hits bookshelves Tuesday. The memoir of a Navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 purports to tell the full story of how the globe’s most-wanted terrorist met his end.

Mentions of the book's author spiked on Twitter on Thursday morning, as did the term "Navy SEAL book." About 4,500 mentions were made by mid-morning. The book was mentioned more than 8,000 times on August 22, when news broke of its release.

Carl Carver tweeted, "This sort of thing is NOT healing relations in Middle East, predicted as the starting point of WWIII !"

"It seems like once a year since I graduated college I get super excited for a book release, this year No Easy Day by Mark Owen is that book," Drake Stahr tweeted.

The RangerUp fan page on Facebook, a popular spot for military folks, had a range of comments.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Alaska • Navy SEALs • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • September 11 • Taliban • Terrorism • U.S. • War • World
June 12th, 2012
09:12 AM ET

Yemeni troops retaking al Qaeda stronghold

Yemen's army is retaking Jaar, the final al Qaeda stronghold in the country's southern Abyan province, forcing hundreds of militants to flee the town, two local security officials told CNN.

The state-run Saba news agency also reported that government forces were retaking Jaar on Tuesday morning after fierce battles against al Qaeda with the support of the Yemeni air force. The agency confirmed that Batis district is now under government control.

The officials estimated that more than 80 militants were killed over the last three days in the province, mainly in areas surrounding Jaar and Zinjibar.

They confirmed that seven troops were also killed Tuesday.

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Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader killed by drone strike, official says
Abu Yahya al-Libi appeared frequently in videos on the Internet, including one in 2006 by an al Qaeda-linked media group.
June 5th, 2012
01:27 PM ET

Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader killed by drone strike, official says

[Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET] Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second most senior leader of al Qaeda, has been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

His death marks one of the most significant blows to al Qaeda since the U.S. military killed Osama bin Laden in a daring nighttime raid in Pakistan a year ago. Al-Libi was second-in-command behind al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took the helm after bin Laden's death.

The drone fired at least six missiles at a militant compound near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border. The attack left 15 militants dead and three others wounded, a U.S. official said earlier Tuesday.

Al Qaeda will have a hard time replacing al Libi, according to the U.S. official who said al Libi was dead. "There is no one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise (al Qaeda) has just lost," said the U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

[Initial post, 8:04 a.m. ET] Abu Yahya al-Libi, the No. 2 man in al Qaeda and a longtime public face of the terror network, has been targeted by a drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Investigators are trying to determine whether al-Libi was injured or killed in the Monday hit, which left 15 militants dead and three others wounded, the official said. Intelligence officials may find out al-Libi's fate only from monitoring websites and chatter, according to the official.

A senior Pakistani official said investigators have to verify that al-Libi was among the dead. Eight of the victims from the strike were "foreigners," with most of them Arabs, the Pakistani official said.

The drone fired at least six missiles at a militant compound near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border.

It was the third such deadly attack in as many days and the 21st suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan this year in the fight against al Qaeda.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Pakistan
May 13th, 2012
06:06 PM ET

Yemeni military kills 24 suspected al Qaeda militants

Government troops in southern Yemen on Sunday attacked al Qaeda hideouts, killing two dozen suspected militants in the latest push to clear the area of the terror organization, local security officials said.

Four members of the military were also killed in the clashes, which began early in the morning in the Abyan districts of Zinjibar and Jaar, the officials said, while nine troops were wounded.

Government warplanes aided in the assault.

"We succeeded in taking takeover three strategic posts near Jaar and our forces will continue to go forward," said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Al Qaeda fighters are evacuating areas previously under their control due to the intensive government bombardment," the official added.

Yemen's government has been fighting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for years with mixed results.

Suspected al Qaeda militants seized Abyan last year during Yemen's political stalemate after government troops evacuated most military posts in the province.

Recently, the government sent thousands of troops to Abyan in its latest assault against the militants, vowing not to retreat until al Qaeda is defeated.

The clashes took place the same day White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan met with President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi in Sanaa.

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