Norway: Al-Qaeda terrorists

They apparently forgot Mullah Krekar


Three Algerians connected to Al-Qaeda have been sentenced to six years in prison for planning terror attack in Italy. Two had lived in Norway before being caught.

Khaled Serai and Yamine Bouhrama were watched in Norway from 2004 till their arrest in Italy in Nov. 2005. Bouhrama is described as the organizer of the group, with extended terror training in Al-Qaeda related training camps in Afghanistan, Georgia and Chechnya.

According to Jørn Holme of the security service (PST), there was proven contact between the two Algerians and ten other North Africans in Oslo staying illegally in Norway. The PST warned the police's foreigner department and the 10 were deported. A connection between the terror cell and a forger later discovered in Oslo was also proven.

The two were sentenced in Naples together with another Algerian, Mohamed Larbi, to six years in prison for international terrorism, organizing illegal work immigration and document forgery.

According to Holme, since 2001, the police and security services stopped more than 50 planned terror attacks in Europe. The Algerian terror suspects stayed in Norway for a year before they were caught in Italy. chief Naples court investigator Michele del Prete says they had close connections to the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb terror group. This group carried out at least two terror attack in Algeria this winter, among others against the Israeli embassy. [ed. in Mauritania]

Del Prete says that the attacks in Algeria show that it's a hot area now. In Europe it's calmer but that is not necessarily a good sign. the terror attacks in Madrid and London were carried out after a calm period. Those who work in uncovering terrorism, need to be watchful regardless.

According to Del Prete, Italian, British and Norwegian security services had secretly worked together to map out the terror group based in Italy and show how the network spun out to other parts of the world. This is one example of how international cooperation has prevented terrorism.

He says that Bouhrama had taken part in military training in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Georgia. His brother, Mouhloud Bouhrama, was recently sentenced to planning a chemical terrorist attack in England.

The three men were caught with plane tickets to Norway in their pockets. Their destination was probably the terror cell's hiding place in Oslo. They had stayed there several times, apparently not aware that they were watched by the PST.

Two other Algerians, Anchour Rabahe and Tartag Samir, were arrested before Christmas eve near Pompeii, one of Italy's tourist destinations. They were sentenced to six years in prison. The five had connections with each other.

Michele Del Prete says that telephone wiretaps used in the court case in January confirm the planning of big attacks against western tourist targets. The plan was to blow up a cruise ship and put bombs at a famous tourist destination.

He says the three belonged to the Algerian Salafi movement, but that they considered themselves moderates.

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

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