Islamic Courts attack a checkpoint outside Baidoa; al-Fajr releases “Apostate Hell in Somalia,” praise Osama bin Laden
BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Last Thursday, the Islamic Courts conducted its second suicide bombing attack against the Transitional Federal Government. Nine were killed after a car suicide bomb detonated at a checkpoint outside of Baidoa. Mohamed Sidi SomaliNet’s Baidoa correspondent, reported from the scene. There appears to have been two suicide bombers. “The police told me that both of them were man and woman, who were the suicide bombers,” said Sidi.
Two members of the Islamic Courts, one anonymous, stated the ICU was indeed responsible for the attack. “Mohamed Ibrahim Said Bilal, commander for the Islamists in Al Bayan in the Bay region where Baidoa is located, said it was the work of ‘Islamic suicide bombers,'” reports the Globe and Mail. Police arrested 8 suspects. Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the Islamic Courts, encouraged further suicide strikes. “It’s a good thing if the people of the region do blow up bombs to remove the enemy of Allah from their land,” said Aweys.
The ICU conducted its first suicide strike in Baidoa against President Yusuf in September, killing six, including Yusuf’s brother.
As the Islamic Courts conducted the suicide attack, the Al-Fajr Information Center released a videotape called “Apostate Hell in Somalia.” The SITE Institute notes that in the video, “Mujahideen are observed carrying the flag of the ICU. The propaganda film also shows the training of the fighters, glorification of the Emir of al Qaeda, Usama bin Laden…” Al-Fajr regularly produces and releases al Qaeda propaganda videos. Sheikh Yusuf Indohaadde, a senior ICU leader, was seen on a video with “foreign fighters.” The video included “Arabic anthems and poetry… urging Muslims to join the global holy war to advance Islam and defeat its enemies,” as well as Arab fighters and al Qaeda’s black flag, the al-rayah.
Al-Qaeda’s involvement in Somalia and backing of the Islamic Courts is not a new development. Osama bin Laden encouraged the Islamic Courts to continue its fight in June of 2006. “We will continue, God willing, to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Somalia and Sudan until we waste all your money and kill your men and you will return to your country in defeat as we defeated you before in Somalia,” said bin Laden. ICU leaders have openly admitted foreign fighters are in their ranks, and a UN report indicates there are “roughly 1,000 foreign jihadists with combat experience or volunteers with training in bomb-making and assassination.” Aweys himself is an al Qaeda operative, and the ICU is sheltering three wanted terrorists involved in the 1998 Kenya and Tanzania suicide attacks on the U.S. Embassies.
Elsewhere in Somalia, the Islamic Courts captured the town of Diinsoor, which was previously run by the TFG. The Islamic Courts are attempting to surround and cut off the Ethiopian supply lines to Baidoa, and trap the Ethiopian forces stations there. In late November, the Islamic Courts attacked Ethiopian convoys heading towards Baidoa. In both attacks, the ICU employed roadside bombs to begin the ambush, and followed with small arms and RPG fire. Three Ethiopian armored vehicles were destroyed in the attack.