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Daily Archives: April 27, 2009

Qaeda threatens to kill British hostage

Al-Qaeda's North African branch has threatened to execute a captive Briton if the British government does not release a Muslim cleric within 20 days, SITE Intelligence Group reported yesterday.
The threat to kill the Briton comes in a statement by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb posted on jihadist forums on April 26, said SITE, a US group which monitors Islamist websites.
The authenticity of the statement could not immediately be verified.
The Al-Qaeda group, according to SITE, is seeking freedom for Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, currently held in a British prison.
The statement did not set out the terms for the Swiss tourist's release.
Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was reported on Saturday as saying his country is doing all it can to free two remaining hostages out of six kidnapped by Islamic extremists in the Sahel region in separate incidents in December and January.
Two Canadian diplomats and two European women tourists were released on Wednesday and flown to the Malian capital Bamako, but Swiss Gabriella Greitner's husband Werner and a Briton, who has not been identified, are still being held.
Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmud Mohammed Othman, was formerly regarded as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe. He is fighting a deportation order to Jordan, saying he risks being tortured in his home country. He has had political asylum in Britain since 1993 and is wanted in Jordan for funding a terrorist network known as Reform and Challenge (Al-Islah Wal Tahhadi) which was dismantled in 1999.

Israel to nix popemobile in Nazareth visit

Israel's internal security agency opposes Pope Benedict XVI using his popemobile while in Nazareth on a tour of the Holy Land next month, the Israeli cabinet heard yesterday.
The Shin Beth "completely opposes the pope moving in the popemobile while in Nazareth," said a government document that was presented to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
The recommendation came after pamphlets in Israeli Arab towns in the Galilee called for demonstrations during the pontiff's visit and some for physical attacks on the leader of the world's Catholics, officials said.
"The police are continuing their efforts vis-a-vis elements inciting elements in Nazareth," the document said.
They "are currently examining the number of shops and businesses in Nazareth that will have to be closed down because of their proximity to the route the pope will take in Nazareth," it added.
Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories between May 8 and 15 during which he is to hold mass in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth.
"The pope's visit is a large and very sensitive operation," a security official told AFP.
"All of the places that the pope will visit have been coordinated between the Vatican and the Israeli security authorities, as well as the places where he will use the popemobile," he said on condition of anonymity.
"Some places are more sensitive than others."

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