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The London Bombs and al-qal3ah.com

From the London Evening Standard:

A previously unknown group claimed responsibility in the name of al Qaeda for a series of blasts in London, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

The “Secret Group of al Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe” claimed the attack in a Web site posting and warned Italy and Denmark to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The claim could not be verified and did not appear on any of the Web sites normally used by al Qaeda…ANSA quoted the message as saying on a site it named as “el qal3ah.com”.

Jeremy Reynalds, whose efforts at tracking down Islamist websites have been noted before on this blog, wrote last month that:

…there’s http://al-qal3ah.com/, http://www.qal3ah.net/ and there’s a number of associated domain names such as http://www.qal3ati.biz/ and others.

…These names are of concern, as they are believed to be associated with terrorist Saad Rashed Mohammed Al-Fagih [or “Saad Rashed Mohammad al-Faqih”].

According to the Society for Internet Research, or SOFIR, (www.sofir.org/sarchives/004190.php#004190) “Al-Fagih has been associated with Al Qaida and the global jihad since the mid-1990’s. On 21 December, 2004, Al-Fagih was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States. Al-Fagih’s associates have included Osama bin Laden, Khaled al Fawwaz, Mustafa Setmariam Naser, Lewis Attiyatullah, Mohammed al-Massari and Ziyad Khalil.

“Al-Fagih provided logistical support for the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa[8]. In addition, and in particular since Sept. 11, 2001, Al-Fagih has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the global jihad by maintaining online communities of Islamic extremists and facilitating communications among Islamic extremists around the globe. He does this both under the cover of his MIRA organization, aka Al-Islah, and through a separate online entity known commonly as ‘The Castle’ or Al-Qal3ah.”

SOFIR is run by Aaron Weisburd, who makes the connection on Haganah, another of his (very pro-Israel) sites today. He also links to this US Treasury report, which gives further details of the allegations:

Following the 1998 East African embassy bombings, [Khaled] al Fawwaz [Bin Laden’s “de facto representative in the U.K.”] was arrested in the United Kingdom under an extradition request from the United States. At the U.S. trial of the East African embassy bombers, prosecutors provided evidence that al-Faqih paid for a satellite phone that al Fawwaz passed on to UBL [Bin Laden], who allegedly used it to help carry out the attacks.

…Al-Faqih is head of the non-governmental organization Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA). Extremists utilize a website controlled by al-Faqih and MIRA to post al Qaida-related statements and images. While MIRA has issued disclaimers warning users to not attribute postings on MIRA message boards to al Qaida, information available to the U.S. and UK Governments shows that the messages are intended to provide ideological and financial support to al-Qaida affiliated networks and potential recruits. AQ-affiliated author, Lewis Attiyatullah, whose statements have been published on MIRA’s website, has been directly associated with Al-Faqih for several years.

UPDATE: The Guardian has more:

[The message] was posted on an Arabic website, al-qal3ah.com, which is registered by Qalaah Qalaah in Abu Dhabi and hosted by a server in Houston, Texas.

But two Israeli groups devoted to exposing the network of jihadist sites claim that it is connected to the London-based Saudi dissident Saad al-Faqih. Mr Faqih, who is based in Willesden, north-west London, and runs the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (Mira), was designated by the US treasury last December as a supporter of al-Qaida. The UK Treasury followed suit by freezing Mr Faqih’s assets.

…Mr Faqih has always vigorously denied being involved with terrorism. Yesterday he was indignant about being linked to the website.

“It does not belong to me at all,” he told the Guardian. “It is a Zionist smear.”

He had seen the message on Thursday morning and doubted its authenticity. “It was only there for a few minutes, and they misquoted the Qur’an.” He also said the website – or more accurately a bulletin board – could be used by anyone.

2 Responses

  1. I wrote IH about the “Zionist Smear” business.

    It’s just a fact that Network Solutions (and the others?) don’t check for a valid e-mail or street address before registration.

    The real question, and perhaps the registrat can provide this information, is “how was payment made?”

    If I was a terrorist, I wouldn’t necessarily be eager to register with my real e-mail address, or real street address. How was payment made? How would a Londoner with Pakistani roots know any street addresses in Abu Dhabi, UAE?

  2. I was reluctant to a source like Sofir for info, but there wasn’t anything else out there as the story was breaking.

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