- Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades
Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades ( _ar. Arabic] . Abu Hafs was said to have helped plan the shooting of dozens of Western tourists at
Deir el-Bahri, Luxor, in Egypt, in 1997. He became a relative to Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader, after his daughter married bin Laden's son, Mohammed bin Laden. He was killed by U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistanin late 2001. He has been adopted as a "martyr" to the fundamentalist cause.
The London-based Arabic language newspaper "
Al-Quds al-Arabi" has received letters from this group, in which it has claimed responsibility for:
* the blackout of
August 14, 2003in the northeastern United States and Canada;
* the attack on the
United Nationsheadquarters in Baghdadon August 19, 2003;
* the bombing of two
synagogues in Turkey on November 15, 2003and the British consulate and HSBC bank in Istanbulon November 20;
* an hotel bombing in
Jakarta, Indonesiain 2003;
11 March 2004 Madrid attacks;
* a letter published
July 2, 2004endorsing the three months Al Qaeda ultimatum against Europe of April 14, 2004
* The terrorist bombings in
Londonin July 2005
At least some of these claims are regarded as being false. The August 2003 power failure in the US, which the group called "Operation Quick Lightning in the Land of the Tyrant of This Generation" has been shown to be caused by a large-scale technical failure rather than terrorist actions. Turkey claims that the Turkish
Hizbullahwas responsible for the Istanbul bombings while the UN headquarters in Baghdad was blamed on Baathists. The Jakarta bombing was carried out by Jemaah Islamiya, an Indonesian group, according to Indonesian and US officials.
The group's involvement with the
March 11, 2004attacks is also uncertain; Spainoriginally pointed the finger for the train bombings at the domestic terrorist group ETA, although it later transpired that Islamist militants were behind it.
According to the group's letter to "Al-Quds", it calls the attacks "The Trains of Death Operation". It also claims that it has completed 90% of the preparation for a new attack on the US, which it calls "Winds of Black Death". The name is speculated to come from Iraq's use of poison gas on Kurds – which
Physicians for Human Rightshas named the "Winds of Death" – and the black skin lesions on anthraxvictims.
Some are skeptical if this group actually exists. The only hard evidence is through
communiques, usually sent via the Internet, to the "Al-Quds al-Arabi" newspaper in the UK. Another previously unknown group calling itself the "Lions of Al-Mufridun" also has decided to claim credit for the Madrid attack, perhaps attempting to copy Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades.
All that can be said with any certainty at this stage is that someone is attempting to associate these attacks with al-Qaida. It should be noted that this is not necessarily inconsistent with al-Qaida's methods, as it is not so much a single organisation as a federation of allied Islamic terrorist groups operating under a common umbrella.
* [http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com/ Al Qaeda, Anthrax and Ayman]
* [http://www.juancole.com/2004/03/eta-or-al-qaeda-madrid-bombings.html/, "ETA or al-Qaeda?", Juan Cole, professor at University of Michigan]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,12469,1087672,00.html guardian.co.uk]
* [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/11/17/1069027049283.html?from=storyrhs smh.com.au]
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