HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Friday, February 02, 2007

Terror hitlist named 25 Muslim soldiers

Defence chiefs have launched an urgent investigation into how a gang of suspected Islamic terrorists obtained a list of names and addresses for 25 serving British Muslim soldiers as part of an alleged plot to kidnap and behead a serviceman.
Senior officers are alarmed that the hitlist includes home addresses as far apart as Glasgow and the West Country. A priority will be to ensure that no Ministry of Defence “mole” provided the suspected terror cell with such top-secret personal information.

All those on the hitlist are understood to be serving members of the regular Army. The main targets identified by the gang are understood to have served a recent tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Police in the West Midlands were given seven more days last night to hold nine men arrested in Birmingham on Wednesday. They are being held in connection with a suspected plan to abduct and murder a serving soldier whose execution would be broadcast on the internet.

Last night defence officials would not say if all those named on the hitlist have been warned. Senior MoD officials met yesterday to consider whether new security provisions are needed to protect the 330 Muslims serving in the Armed Forces and their families.

New guidelines are expected to be issued to Muslim personnel within the next few days about their personal safety. A defence official said last night: “Such sensitive information about our personnel is kept under conditions of strict confidentiality, so we obviously want to discover how a list of names and home addresses was reportedly compiled.” There are fears that the alleged threat to kill Muslim troops as “traitors” will also damage a drive to recruit more young male and female Muslims into the Armed Forces.

One British soldier who is understood to have been on a shortlist of three men to be the first hostage was under armed guard last night at a safe house with his family. The soldier, said to be a corporal in his early twenties, is understood to have agreed to be used as “bait” to help to flush out the suspected gang of Islamic extremists.

The soldier, who had just returned on leave to the West Midlands after serving in Iraq, was told by police that he was a prime target for the alleged kidnap. He was warned of the risks of taking part in the undercover operation.

The soldier was kept under close surveillance for a number of weeks as police tried to identify all those involved in the alleged al-Qaeda-style plot. Police would not normally put a kidnap target at such risk but as he was a combat soldier who understood the dangers a decision was taken to involve him.

Counter-terrorism officers and MI5 agents had already spent six months on Operation Gamble and it is understood they had not identified all those involved in the alleged gang. At least two men are thought to be on the run in the UK. Police decided to make their arrests after an intelligence tip that the gang was about to strike. One of the group bought a camcorder which officers believe was to be used to film the torture and beheading of their hostage.

Three of those arrested appeared at Coventry Magistrates’ Court before District Judge Nicholas Evans, who was brought in from London to deal with the case. The public and press were barred. The remaining six remained at the high-security Chace Avenue police station.

In Birmingham last night forensic science teams continued to search 12 premises raided on Wednesday while police chiefs intensified efforts to calm growing local tensions.

times online
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org