Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Al Qaeda - Tightening al-Qaeda's European grip

Asia Times reports on Al Qaeda in Europe.

Beghal's arrest subsequently led to the dismantlement of the so-called "Beghal network" in Corbeil-Essonnes, France, where he had lived until 1997, before leaving for the United Kingdom - where he met the influential Salafist preacher Abu Qatada - and later Germany and Pakistan. The kamikaze in the alleged planned attack would have been Tunisian Nizar Trabelsi, a former soccer player. Trabelsi was arrested in Belgium in September 2001, two days after the September 11 attacks, and sentenced to 10 years in jail two years later. He admitted he was preparing a terrorist attack, but said his target was a military base in Belgium.

Beghal's main co-defendant Kamel Daoudi, a computer scientist suspected of taking care of the logistics, was arrested in England and extradited to France. Last June, four members of the network were sentenced in the Netherlands, including French convert Jerome Courtailler.

Like Zakarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid, among others, Beghal attended the now famous Finsbury Park mosque led by Abu Hamza al-Masri. Several well-known Islamic radicals - among whom many have been involved in terrorism plots - found sanctuary in Great Britain, a country labelled "soft" on religious extremism.

Ain't that the truth.

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