October 16th, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Kenya vows to hit Al-Shabaab across Somali border

By David McKenzie, CNN

Kenyan troops are pursuing suspected Islamic militants from al-Shabaab across the border into Somalia, Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told CNN Sunday.

The move marks a dramatic shift in security tactics for the east African powerhouse, which is evoking the United Nations charter allowing military action in self-defense against its largely lawless neighbor.

"If you are attacked by an enemy, you have the pursue that enemy through hot pursuit and to try hit wherever that enemy is," said Yusuf Haji, in a news conference aired on CNN affiliate NTV.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Kenya • Somalia
October 12th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

In latest video message, al Qaeda leader calls for Islamic law in Libya

In his latest video, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri congratulated the Libyan people on their victory against dictator Moammar Gadhafi but warned them against Western manipulation as they forge ahead in building a new nation.

Osama bin Laden's successor said Libyans should move quickly to establish Sharia, or Islamic law.

"Be careful of the plots of the West and its agents as you are building your new state and do not allow them to trick you and steal your sacrifices and suffering," al-Zawahiri said in the video posted on Islamist websites. "And be sure to take the first, most important step for reform and apply Sharia.

"If the West talks about extremists and militants, they are talking about the honest and the free who defend their religion, sanctities, families and countries," he said.

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Source: Al-Awlaki was killed by U.S. drone
American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed Friday in Yemen, the nation's Defense Ministry said.
September 30th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Source: Al-Awlaki was killed by U.S. drone

[Updated at 12:21 p.m. ET] The airstrike that killed militant American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in a car in Yemen came from a U.S. drone, a government source who was briefed by the CIA told CNN.

Three others, including Samir Khan, an American of Pakistani origin, were killed with al-Awlaki, reported Yemen's state-run Saba news agency, citing an official security source.

Al-Awlaki was killed about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the Yemeni town of Khashef, east of the capital, Sanaa, said Mohammed Basha, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington. He said the operation was launched at 9:55 a.m.

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET] The airstrike that killed radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was part of an American counterterrorism program that "violates both U.S. and international law," said American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer.

"This is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process," he said.

A Yemeni official has described the strike as "a successful joint intelligence-sharing operation" between Yemen and the United States

[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET]  U.S President Barack Obama said Friday's death of  American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is a major blow for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and marks another milestone in the effort to defeat the terrorist network.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula remains a "dangerous but weakened" threat that calls for continued vigilance on the part of the United States despite al-Awlaki's death, Obama said.

Al-Awlaki - whose fluency in English and technology made him one of the top terrorist recruiters in the world - was killed Friday in an airstrike in Yemen, officials said.

The United States regarded al-Awlaki, the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as a terrorist who posed a major threat to American homeland security. Western intelligence officials believe al-Awlaki was a senior leader of AQAP, one of the most active al Qaeda affiliates in the world. It has been linked to the attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit in December 2009 and a cargo plane plot last year.

[Updated at 11:25 a.m. ET] Samir Khan, an American of  Pakistani origin specializing in computer programming for al Qaeda, was killed Friday with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni  security official told the state-run news agency, Saba.  Khan was also the principal author of Inspire, an online magazine for the terror network.

[Initial post] Friday's death of American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, announced earlier in the day,  happened when an airstrike hit his motorcade, a Yemeni government official told CNN. The source would not say who carried out the strike.

The United States regarded al-Awlaki, the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as a terrorist who posed a major threat to American homeland security. Western intelligence officials believe al-Awlaki was a senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the most active al Qaeda affiliates in the world. It has been linked to the attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit in December 2009 and a cargo plane plot last year.

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Report: U.S. setting up drone bases in Africa, Indian Ocean
A U.S. Predator drone is shown in Afghanistan last year.
September 21st, 2011
08:15 AM ET

Report: U.S. setting up drone bases in Africa, Indian Ocean

The United States is assembling a network of secret drone bases in Africa and around the Indian Ocean to fight terror groups in the region, the Washington Post reports.

The bases are in Ethiopia, the Seychelles islands, Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and in an unnamed location on the Arabian Peninsula, the Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

The base network is being set up to fight al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups in Somalia and Yemen, according to the report, and the locations “are based on potential target sets,” the Post quotes a senior U.S. military official as saying.

“If you look at it geographically, it makes sense — you get out a ruler and draw the distances (drones) can fly and where they take off from,” the official told the Post.

The report says the U.S. has used drones in attacks in six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

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September 5th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

Pakistan army says top al Qaeda figure arrested

The Pakistani intelligence service has arrested a senior al Qaeda leader who sought to attack targets in the United States, Europe and Australia, the Pakistani military said Monday.

The intelligence service arrested Younis al-Mauretani and two al Qaeda associates in the suburbs of Quetta, Pakistan, the military said in a statement.

Osama bin Laden had asked al-Mauretani "to focus on hitting targets of economic importance in United States of America, Europe and Australia," with U.S. targets including gas and oil pipelines, dams and oil tankers, the statement said.

Security Clearance: Arrest yet one more blow for al Qaeda

Al-Mauretani was also involved in planning multiple attacks on European countries similar to those in Mumbai, India, in 2008, European intelligence officials told CNN last year. The man at the center of the alleged al Qaeda plot, Afghan German Ahmed Sidiqui, was detained in July 2010 and told interrogators that al-Mauretani helped with planning and coordination.

News of the arrest comes six days before the 10th anniversary of al Qaeda's attack on the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people. It also comes as the United States and its allies have made major strides in its fight against al Qaeda.

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August 31st, 2011
01:11 PM ET

U.N. bombing suspect tied to al Qaeda, Nigerians say

Nigerian authorities said Wednesday that a man with ties to al Qaeda plotted last  week's car bombing at the United Nations' headquarters in the Nigerian capital that killed 23 people.

The Nigerian State Security Service said Mamman Nur recently returned from Somalia and was "working in concert" with two other suspects who have been arrested. The militant Somali group Al-Shabaab has been linked to al Qaeda.
The secret service described Nur as a "notorious Boko Haram element." Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group, aims to enforce a strict version of Islamic law in Nigeria.

The militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack in which a Honda packed with explosives rammed into the U.N. building, shattering windows and setting the place afire.

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Filed under: Africa • Al Qaeda • Nigeria • Terrorism • United Nations • World
Jill Biden to visit largest refugee camp in effort to feed Horn of Africa's hungry
The United Nations says almost half the Somali children arriving at Dadaab refugee complex are malnourished. Many die en route.
August 8th, 2011
09:05 AM ET

Jill Biden to visit largest refugee camp in effort to feed Horn of Africa's hungry

Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, is in Kenya with former Republican Sen. Bill Frist and other dignitaries to emphasize the U.S. government's commitment to tackling the famine that has left more than 12 million East Africans in need of food.

During her trip, Biden will visit the Dadaab refugee complex, a camp that receives more than 1,000 Somalis a day and is home to more than 400,000 displaced people. The camp is designed to accommodate about 90,000 refugees.

The region is facing its worst drought in six decades, and the United Nations has declared a state of famine in five regions of Somalia with warnings that the situation is deteriorating and could easily spread. Though food insecurity is also affecting Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda and Ethiopia, the greatest concerns emanate from war-torn Somalia, which has known no central government since 1991.

The United Nations is working to round up $2.5 billion to address the situation, which the organization says could be ongoing for six months or more.

Biden's trip to Dadaab aims to draw attention to the plight of the Horn of Africa and highlight the Feed the Future program, a U.S. government effort aimed at "helping countries transform their own agricultural sectors to grow enough food sustainably to feed their people." She also will visit Nairobi's Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and meet with President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei.

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June 30th, 2011
11:09 AM ET

Kabul hotel attack: What is the Haqqani network?

This week's deadly suicide attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that is popular with Westerners has been linked to a terrorist group called Haqqani.

Based in Pakistan's tribal region, Haqqani (which the U.S. government has dubbed the Haqqani network) is a militant group closely allied with the Taliban and linked to al Qaeda. For several years, it has reportedly targeted American and international forces across the Afghanistan border and the region. American officials say they consider the network one of the greatest threats in Afghanistan.

Members of Haqqani are bound together by tribal or clan relationships, according to the military blog the Long War Journal, which has a long explanation of the roots of the group and the Haqqani family, which is believed to be at the helm of the group.

Jane's Defense and Security Analysis says that in 2008, Siraj Haqqani was believed to be the leader of the network. At that time, he phoned The News, a Pakistani newspaper, and claimed he had masterminded a suicide bombing in the District Centre of Sabari, in southeast Afghanistan's Khost province, with an IED in March. Two U.S. soldiers in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force were killed in the attack, according to U.S. sources, Jane's says. Siraj Haqqani told the paper that a gunman had fired on guards manning the entrance to the base, allowing a suicide bomber to drive his car inside.

Also in 2008, Afghan officials blamed the Haqqani network for a January assault on Kabul's Serena Hotel. In that attack, three gunmen with explosives "bluffed, shot and blasted their way through the hotel's security measures, terrifying Afghanistan's small international community in the process," according to Jane's.

This week, terrorists entered the Hotel Inter-Continental in Kabul by avoiding the main entrance, instead attacking a smaller entrance on another side of the building. The attackers killed two Afghan police officers manning the entrance, according to Falak Merzahi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. The terrorists then stormed the hotel, and six of them detonated explosives. Three of the attackers were shot and killed on the roof of the hotel, Afghan officials told CNN. Although a NATO helicopter carrying International Security Assistance Force snipers flew to the scene and fired at the attackers, Merzahi said it was Afghan army soldiers who killed the three gunmen on the roof.

The attack at the Inter-Continental has led many to question whether Afghan security forces can take control in the country.

In February 2010, the son of a Haqqani leader was killed in a suspected American drone strike in Pakistan, Pakistani intelligence sources said. Muhammad Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of the four people killed in a militant compound in the country's tribal region in North Waziristan. A Taliban source also confirmed the death.

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Top al Qaeda operative reported killed in Africa
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was believed responsible for the 1998 East African embassy bombings.
June 11th, 2011
12:07 PM ET

Top al Qaeda operative reported killed in Africa

A top al Qaeda operative in East Africa, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, was killed at a Somali checkpoint, a senior Kenyan official said Saturday. Mohammed was long sought in Somalia for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

"There's reason to believe this senior terrorist is dead," a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak on the record said Saturday. "He was killed, it appears, at a Somali police checkpoint in or around Mogadishu."

The commander of Somalia's government forces confirmed that two men driving through a checkpoint southwest of Mogadishu late Wednesday were killed when both opened fire on soldiers there.

One of the men was a foreigner and his identity is under investigation, Gen. Abdikarin Dhega Badans said.

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Watchdog seeks bin Laden photo, says White House 'not above the law'
A Washington-based watchdog group is suing the CIA and Defense Department to release photos of Osama bin Laden.
June 10th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Watchdog seeks bin Laden photo, says White House 'not above the law'

A conservative legal watchdog group says the deadline is up and is suing the CIA and Defense Department to release photos and videos of the May raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

"The American people by law have a right to know basic information about the killing of Osama bin Laden," Tom Fitton, president of Washington-based Judicial Watch, said in a statement. "President Obama's personal reluctance to release the documents is not a lawful basis for withholding them. The Obama administration will now need to justify its lack of compliance in federal court. This historic lawsuit should remind the administration that it is not above the law."

The al Qaeda mastermind was killed when U.S. Navy SEALs stormed his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2. He was later buried at sea. Though some members of Congress have been allowed to see photos and CIA Director Leon Panetta initially said it was "important" that the photos be released, President Barack Obama said his administration would not release photos of the slain terrorist leader or his burial.

The photos - which have been described as gruesome and reportedly show brains hanging out of bin Laden's eye socket - could be used as a propaganda tool and could result in additional violence against American interests, Obama told "60 Minutes" last month, comparing the release of the photos to an unnecessary end-zone celebration.

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Source: Bin Laden considered Pakistan protection deal
May 27th, 2011
12:28 PM ET

Source: Bin Laden considered Pakistan protection deal

Osama bin Laden considered seeking a deal with Pakistan for protection of al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and in return al Qaeda would refrain from attacking Pakistan, a U.S. official told CNN. The revelation surfaced as American agents analyzed the documents that were seized in the May 2 raid of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, according to the official who was not authorized to speak on the record.

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May 20th, 2011
11:01 AM ET

U.S.: al Qaeda has interest in strikes on energy infrastructure

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have warned police across the United States that al Qaeda has a "continuing interest" in attacking oil and natural gas targets, a department spokesman said Friday.

The warning came as a result of information seized during the May 2 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, a U.S. official said.

"We are not aware of indications of any specific or imminent terrorist-attack plotting against the oil and natural gas sector overseas or in the United States," said Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler.

"However, in 2010 there was continuing interest by members of al Qaeda in targeting oil tankers and commercial oil infrastructure at sea."

Chandler said it is "unclear if any further planning has been conducted" since the middle of last year.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • National security • Security • U.S.
Gates, Mullen: No evidence top Pakistani leaders knew of bin Laden's presence
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen made the statement to reporters Wednesday.
May 18th, 2011
01:32 PM ET

Gates, Mullen: No evidence top Pakistani leaders knew of bin Laden's presence

[Updated at 1:32 p.m.] The United States has seen no evidence that the senior Pakistani leadership knew of Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan, Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters Wednesday.

The nation's top military officer said the extensive details told to the media about the Osama bin Laden raid is "jeopardizing precious capability."

"It is time to stop talking," the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday in answer to a question from CNN's Barbara Starr.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the agreement in the administration to not talk about the operational details of the raid "lasted about 15 hours."

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Source: SEALs wore helmet-mounted cameras in bin Laden raid
Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in this hideout compound in Pakistan.
May 13th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Source: SEALs wore helmet-mounted cameras in bin Laden raid

Members of the U.S. Navy SEAL team that attacked Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound were wearing helmet-mounted digital cameras that recorded the mission, a U.S. military official told CNN Friday.

The official described the digital recording as hazy and fast-moving, and subject to poor lighting in the rooms. The source also said it is hard to get clear images from the footage.

"This is not movie-quality stuff," the source said.

Wednesday's live video events
May 11th, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on the flooding along the Mississippi River.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - Race to 2012: Gingrich speaks in Washington - He's expected to announce today that he's running for president, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich isn't sitting on his laurels.  He'll address a Hispanic prayer breakfast in Washington this morning.

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May 10th, 2011
07:45 AM ET

Tuesday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on reaction and fallout to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Jury selection continues in the trial of the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.

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May 9th, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Monday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of reaction and fallout to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Today's programming highlights...

8:00 am ET - Louisiana spillway briefing - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will discuss plans to open a Louisiana spillway in order to reduce pressure on New Orleans levees.

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Pakistan arrests dozens in connection with bin Laden compound
Pakistani Police guard the sealed main gate of the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.
May 6th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Pakistan arrests dozens in connection with bin Laden compound

Dozens of people in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad have been arrested because of their suspected connections to the compound where Osama bin Laden was shot and killed, a Pakistani intelligence official said Friday.

Some of the individuals were arrested around the compound and investigators still need to determine if any of the people arrested have any connection with al Qaeda.

This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.

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May 6th, 2011
10:24 AM ET

Latest updates: How the raid against Osama bin Laden went down

Below is the most current account of the origins and execution of an early Monday morning raid that resulted in the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and four others. These details are from U.S. officials, unless otherwise noted.

- Four years ago, U.S. officials uncover the identity of a trusted bin Laden courier - later identified as a Kuwaiti named Abu Ahmad - whom they believed may have been living with and protecting the al Qaeda leader. Two years later, investigators identify parts of Pakistan where the courier and his brother lived.

- In late 2010, U.S. authorities hone in on a housing compound in Abbottabad, which is 30 to 35 miles north of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.

- The compound is placed under constant U.S. surveillance, and the CIA gets reports of repeated sightings on a tall man doing "prison yard walks" around the compound yard. They don't definitively identify this man as bin Laden beforehand, but President Barack Obama orders the go-ahead for the raid on April 29 after concluding there's enough evidence suggesting the al Qaeda leader is there.

- The assault is code-named "Operation Neptune Spear," a U.S. official said Thursday. On Monday, a senior Obama administration official said that "Geronimo" was code for the act of capturing or killing bin Laden, not the man himself.

- The CIA and U.S. military decide to move in overnight Sunday in part due to good weather, maximum darkness in the area and a worry that potential targets might move to other locations.

- The raid locale is a compound with outer walls up to 18 feet tall topped with barbed wire, with two security gates and a series of internal walls that sectioned off different portions of the compound. The main structure is a three-story building with few windows facing the outside of the compound, and a third-floor terrace had a 7-foot privacy wall, they said.

- Two families lived at the compound, along with that of bin Laden. One resided on the main house's first floor, while the other was in another building.

- The entire mission is coordinated by Adm. William McRaven, the head of the Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees covert operations involving Navy SEALs. He does so from a base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

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Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden's death, group says
May 6th, 2011
10:02 AM ET

Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden's death, group says

[Updated at 10:02 a.m. ET] Read the full statement.

[Updated at 8:51 a.m. ET ] The statement, translated by SITE, lauded the late militant, threatened to take action against the United States, and urged Pakistanis to "rise up and revolt."

Bin Laden's death will serve as a "curse that chases the Americans and their agents, and goes after them inside and outside their countries," the message said.

"Soon - with help from Allah - their happiness will turn into sorrow, and their blood will be mixed with their tears," it said.

The statement said al Qaeda will "continue on the path of jihad, the path walked upon by our leaders, and on top of them" bin Laden "without hesitation or reluctance.

Bin Laden and other militants used the internet to post messages to their followers before and after al Qaeda's September, 11, 2001 attack on the United States.

[Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET] CNN has seen the statement posted on the jihadist forum regarding Osama bin Laden's death and is working to translate it. We'll bring you any information from it as soon as we get it.

[Posted at 8:28 a.m. ET] Al Qaeda released a statement on jihadist forums confirming the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant messages.

CNN could not immediately confirm the statement.

Bin Laden was killed early Monday in a raid conducted by the U.S. at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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