Monday, April 19, 2010

Top Al-Qaeda Leader Linked to Five Americans on Trial in Pakistan

Via The Long War Journal -

Pakistani prosecutors claim that five Americans currently on trial for attempting to join al Qaeda were in contact with a top leader of the terror group.

The five Americans are said to have made contact with Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of the radical Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and the commander of al Qaeda's Brigade 313. Prosecutors presented evidence, including phone calls, emails, and other documents that linked Akhtar and the five would-be terrorists, according to Dawn.

Akhtar recruited the five Americans after watching their videos posted on YouTube, according to Pakistani police officials. Akhtar was able to obtain emails through the YouTube postings and encouraged the men to travel to Pakistan to join the jihad.

The five American Muslim men were detained in the city of Sargodha in Punjab province in December 2009 after a family member discovered they were missing and contacted the FBI. The five Americans have been identified as Umar Farooq, Waqar Hussain, Rami Zamzam, Ahmad Abdullah Mini, and Amman Hassan Yammer.

The Americans were attempting to enter North Waziristan to join al Qaeda. They arrived in Karachi in November 2009; their passports stated they entered the country to attend a wedding. They traveled to Lahore to meet their al Qaeda contact, but he never appeared. The five men then traveled to Sargodha in an attempt to reestablish contact and make their way into North Waziristan. The men stayed at a home owned by Farooq's uncle. Pakistani police arrested the five Americans after being tipped off about their whereabouts.

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