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Feds announce they will seek death penalty for Boston Bombing suspect

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boston bombing suspects

 

Federal prosecutors say they'll seek the death penalty against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, arguing that he acted in "an especially heinous, cruel and depraved manner" and lacks remorse.

Authorities allege Tsarnaev, a Chechnya-born American, and his brother Tamerlan planted two homemade bombs near the finish line of the April 15 race, killing three and injuring more than 250.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was killed three days later, triggering the massive manhunt that led to Tsarnaev's capture. His brother was shot and killed by police during the manhunt.

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement released by the Justice Department.

After Holder made his decision, prosecutors filed Thursday a notice with a federal court that they would seek the death penalty in the case.

The notice lists factors that prosecutors argue justify a death sentence in the case. Among them: The attack killed multiple people, involved substantial planning and premeditation and involved betrayal of the United States, prosecutors said.

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Palestinians arrested in al-Qaeda plot to bomb US Embassy in Tel Aviv

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us embassy bombing plotters

 

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Wednesday that it arrested three Palestinians from east Jerusalem recruited online by an al-Qaida operative in Gaza, who were in the midst of preparations to carry out a string of large-scale bombing and shooting attacks on multiple targets in Israel.

The intended targets included the Jerusalem Convention Center, a bus traveling between the capital and Ma'aleh Adumim, the US embassy in Tel Aviv, and emergency responders who would have arrived at the scene of attacks

The Shin Bet said an al-Qaida operative in Gaza, named as Ariv Al-Sham, recruited the men separately from one another, and had planned to activate three independent terrorist cells via his recruits. Senior Shin Bet sources said they believed Al-Sham received his orders directly from the head of al-Qaida's central structure, Ayman Al-Zawahri.

Using Sykpe and Facebook, Al-Sham was able to recruit Iyad Khalil Abu-Sara, 23, of Ras Hamis in east Jerusalem, who has an Israeli ID card. During questioning, Abu-Sara, who was arrested on December 25, admitted to volunteering to carry out a "sacrifice attack" on an Israeli bus travelling between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim. In the planned attack, terrorists would have fired shots at the bus's wheels, causing it to overturn, before gunning down passengers at close range, and firing on emergency responders.

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Iranian citizen working at US defense contractor tried to smuggle new F-35 Stealth Fighter blueprints to Iran

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An engineer for a major American defense contractor tried to smuggle thousands of secret documents, including blueprints, on America's multi-billion-dollar F-35 stealth fighter to Iran in boxes labeled as "household goods," U.S. prosecutors say.

Mozaffar Khazaee, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, was reportedly arrested late last week as he was attempting to travel to Germany and then on to Iran. Weeks earlier, Khazaee had arranged for a shipping company to take boxes containing "sensitive technical manuals, specification sheets, and other proprietary material" related to the F-35 and its engines to a contact in Iran, according to an affidavit filed by a Special Agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

The reams of documents were discovered in November when Customs officers inspected a truck shipment Khazaee had sent from Connecticut to California, which was intended to go on to Hamadan, Iran, the affidavit said. The 44 boxes, which had been described to the shipping company as containing "books and college-related items, two suitcases, a vacuum cleaner and some other items," actually held "thousands of pages contained in dozens of manuals/binders relating to the JSF [F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] program."

Court documents describe Khazaee as having worked as an engineer for several defense contractors, leaving his most recent employer last August. None of the contractors are identified in the court documents, but the latest employer, Company A, is described as a Connecticut-based contractor that produced the F-22 Raptor's F-119 engine.

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New terrorist attacks launched to thwart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

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The Examiner. com
Jim Kouri
October 30, 2013


Hamas begins training children in terrorist and military tactics when they are kindergarten-age.

Following a suspected Hamas rocket attack on Israel on Monday, Israeli Air Force jets blew up two concealed rocket launchers located in Palestinian territory on the Gaza Strip, according to Israel's security officials. It's suspected that the attacks are part of an effort by Hamas to derail the peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

One of the alleged Hamas rockets was intercepted by the "Iron Dome" missile defense system near the city Israeli city of Ashkelon. Security forces are searching the area for the additional unexploded rocket.

On Sunday, a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel near the border security fence in the Gaza Strip.

IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner stated on Twitter, “This targeted strike is an immediate response to the terrorist aggression and its infrastructure in Gaza. Hamas must take responsibility for these actions or pay the price for inaction.”

Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh has repeatedly called for an end to the peace process. He is urging Arabs and Muslims to prepare for the next intifada (uprising) against Israel.

In a speech on Oct. 19, 2013, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called for an end to peace negotiations with Israel, warning that “thousands of fighters above ground and thousands of fighters underground have been preparing in silence for the campaign to liberate Palestine.”

Speaking from the Gaza Strip, Haniyeh called on Arabs and Muslims worldwide to prepare for the “big al-Aqsa Intifada” and warned of the “fire and rage” that Israel will soon endure.

Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, terrorists have fired more than 8,000 rockets into Israel. Over one million Israelis are currently living under threat of rocket attacks.

More than half a million Israelis have less than 60 seconds to find shelter after a rocket is launched from Gaza into Israel. Most rockets launched from Gaza into Israel are capable of reaching Israel’s biggest southern cities.

 

The Growing Terror Threat From Radical Women Converts

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altThe Investigative Project on Terrorism
Abigail R. Esman
October 17, 2013

In a photograph, the girl looks back with casual curiosity, her face scrubbed, her hair pulled a bit untidily behind her ears, her collar crisp, her tie askew, a charming and timeless portrait of the young Catholic schoolgirl in her teens.

Barely more than a decade later, she is called the world's most dangerous woman, the Muslim terrorist known as the "white widow," thought to have helped mastermind last month's terrorist attacks in Nairobi in which 72 people, including several children, were massacred in a popular shopping mall. Some reports placed her at the scene, commanding others as they gunned down dozens off non-Muslims over a three-day period. (For more on Lewthwaite, click here.)

If the allegations are true, then Irish-born Samantha Lewthwaite, whose husband Germaine Lindsay was among the suicide bombers responsible for the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks in London, is by no means alone among violent women converts to Islam. Last May, Michigan-born Muslim convert Nicole Lynn Mansfield became the first American to die fighting with the Syrian rebels opposing the Bashar al-Assad regime. And in 2005, Belgian convert Muriel Degauque blew herself up in a suicide bombing outside of Baghdad. Other examples include Jamie Paulin-Ramirez and Colleen La Rose, better known as Jihad Jane – American converts convicted in 2010 in connection with a plot to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks for "insulting Islam" in his drawings of the prophet Mohammed as a dog; and Canadian Amanda Korody, charged with her partner John Stewart Nuttail, with "conspiracy, facilitating a terrorist activity and making an explosive device" in a failed attack on the British Columbia legislature on Canada Day last July.

This is just a sampling.

It should be said up front that while the vast majority of converts to Islam are women (in the UK, officials say women comprise about 75 percent of the 5,000 people who become Muslim every year), radicalization among them is rare, and violent attacks – or plots to commit them – rarer still . But the numbers are growing, reports the Christian Science Monitor, and becoming an increasingly worrisome phenomenon.

The attraction of Islam to Western women is not new. Experts have repeatedly noted common patterns among female converts, most of whom convert because of a relationship to a Muslim man, as was the case, say, with Katherine Tsarnaev, widow of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Others seem to find respite in the trappings of Islam. According to Dutch psychiatrist Carla Rus, who frequently works with Muslim women and converts, they are attracted less by the religion itself than by the costume, claiming that "covering up" under an abaya or niqab allows them to escape from a sexualized Western culture in which, they say, women are too often perceived as sex objects. (That the entire purpose of these coverings in Islamic culture is based on the premise that women are nothing but sex objects is a nuance that, evidently, escapes them.) They find, too, comfort in the notion of clear rules for women, a definitive set of guidelines by which to organize their lives in a post-feminist West where women's roles remain, in many instances and circles, ambiguous.

"The Bible can be vague about the roles of men and women," a woman called "Saskia" told a reporter for London's Standpoint magazine in 2010, "and I wanted certainty. Islam gave me that."

But the journey from hijabi to terrorist is another matter, more complex and less easily explained. Research I have reviewed shows that, in many cases, the women are pressured by their partners, as may have been the case initially with Samantha Lewthwaite (whose husband was also a convert). Muslim husbands and even the Muslim community at large may question their suitability and devotion: it is not unusual for a female convert to be told that she is "not a proper Muslim wife." Consequently, whether out of a need to please or to prove her mettle, for some women the response is simply to travel deeper into the orthodoxy. They may raise funds for jihad, or assist in recruiting male jihadists – or, as is the case with some of the female members of the Dutch radical Hofstadgroep network, join in the sitting-room gatherings of their radical husbands and lovers, absorbing the discussions – and the beliefs. Such activities can even influence women born into Islam; but for converts – especially those who either are eager to prove themselves, are too naïve and uninformed to know better, or both – they pose a particular danger.

It is, in fact, especially that lack of knowledge, according to many experts, that can lead down the path to radicalization, as much among women as men. Jolande Withuis, a Dutch researcher who has written prolifically on the subject, points out that for many of the radicalized women, the desire to know more about the Quran and its teaching leads them to the Internet, where they land in Salafist online communities eager to embrace them into their world. For a jihadist recruiter, after all, nothing provides a better foil than a Muslim woman who does not look as if she's Muslim – someone, say, like the blonde and blue-eyed Jihad Jane.

Those recruits are also among the most effective, according to French Islam expert Olivier Roy, who in 2006 told the Washington Post, "For al Qaeda, converts are not just tools to get past security. It's a way for them to become a global movement."

But if the growing number of radicalized female converts to Islam is disturbing, at least as troubling is the absence of any real effort to combat it, both from within the Muslim community and from without. This seems especially true in the United States, where it would appear that the threat is becoming particularly acute. Nicole Mansfield's father, in fact, claims he contacted the FBI about his daughter long before she left for Syria; and while they followed her for a time, nothing ever came of it. "She'd go make U-turns," Gregory Mansfield told the Detroit Free Press, "They'd make U-turns. She'd pull into a parking lot, they'd pull into a parking lot."

Eventually, Nicole Mansfield contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who – rather than investigating the situation – ordered the FBI to back off. Now, says Nicole's father, CAIR has told him and other family members to avoid the FBI completely.

Meantime, the 33-year-old Nicole, like the 38-year-old Degauque before her, is dead, leaving an 18-year-old daughter behind, alone. And Samantha Lewthwaite is still at large, awaiting, plotting, her chance to kill again.

 
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