Results tagged “United Kingdom”
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Authorities arrested two unnamed suspects, a man and a woman from Greenwich, in the brutal murder of a soldier in Woolwich, and identified one of the suspects at the crime scene as UK-born Michael Olumide Adebolajo, a Muslim convert of Nigerian origin. Both Adebolajo and another suspect are known to authorities and were the subject of counterterrorism investigations in the past eight years. Adelbolajo was a member of the banned UK-based jihadist group Al Muhajiroun, and was often seen handing out Islamist literature in Woolwich. Authorities reportedly stopped one of the suspects last year as he tried to travel to Somalia to join the al Qaeda-linked Shabaab. A Shabaab Twitter post called the attack "an eye for an eye."
Two men jumped out of a car in Woolwich near the military barracks and attacked a UK soldier who was wearing a "Help for Heroes" charity shirt, slashing and beating him until he was dead. The attackers tried to film the attack, and then waited near the scene, one ranting jihadist propaganda, his hands covered in blood. Police arrived and shot the two attackers, who were taken to the hospital. Prime Minister Cameron said: "We have had these sorts of attacks before in our country and we never buckle in the face of them."
Prime Minister Cameron said Britain intends to double its nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition over the next year. The Defence Ministry announced plans to lengthen tours of duty for British troops in Afghanistan to facilitate the security handover to Afghan forces in 2014.
Counsel for extremist cleric Abu Qatada said his client would voluntarily return to Jordan if it signs a recent treaty with the UK guaranteeing Qatada a fair trial. Qatada is currently in a UK jail for violation of bail conditions; a search of his home on March 7 found suspected extremist literature and 17 mobile phones, three USB sticks, an SD card, five digital media devices, and 55 recordable CDs or DVDs. Raids were conducted in London following the arrest.
The government is said to be planning a reversal of the 1968 "East of Suez" policy that resulted in the closing of a number of its military bases in the Gulf; the military is considering the establishment of a strong shadow presence in the area following the drawdown from Afghanistan. The UK's Chief of Defence Staff had said in December that "[a]fter Afghanistan, the Gulf will become our main military effort."
The Royal Air Force stated that it has begun supporting ISAF and Afghan ground troops with "armed intelligence and surveillance missions" using drones remotely piloted from Britain. A former chief of defense intelligence said terrorists operate in "a condition of sanctuary" in parts of Afghanistan.
Three al Qaeda-linked British Islamists who planned mass-casualty suicide attacks, Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, were given prison sentences ranging from 18 to 23 years; Rahin Ahmed, an associate, received a 17-year term. Several other members of the Birmingham-based cell were also sentenced. Radical Islamists Imran Mahmood, Jahangir Alom, and Richard Dart received jail terms of less than 10 years each for planning acts of terror. Mahmood had traveled to Pakistan for terrorist training, and the other two men had tried to do so. Alom's efforts to acquire the training are tied to a Briton living in Pakistan.
An appellate court refused the government's bid to overturn a ruling that prohibits the deportation of extremist cleric Abu Qatada. He remains in prison following his arrest in March for violating bail conditions, and authorities are sifting through a large quantity of alleged extremist material seized from his home at the time.