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Another Home Grown Jihadist Caught Studying in Yemen

#1
Briton among 30 arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links in Yemen
James Hider, Middle East Correspondent, Times on Line

Yemeni security forces have arrested dozens of foreigners including a Briton (Al-Hayat does not name him), an American and three French citizens on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda.

Some of the detainees were students at language schools in Sanaa, the capital, officials said, including a French national registered at the Sanaa Institute for the Arabic Language the same school at which the Nigerian who allegedly tried to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day had studied.

Also caught in the round-ups was an Australian woman who had converted to Islam and was arrested last month on suspicion of terrorism.

Her two children were also being held by the authorities although Australian diplomats were working to have them repatriated. No specific details of any charges have been released for any of the suspects. British officials said that they were looking into the reports.

The arrests come as Yemen struggles to contain a burgeoning threat from al-Qaeda. The network has taken advantage of the chaos in the failing southern Arabian state with Yemeni forces distracted by a Shia insurgency in the north and facing calls for independence in the south to set up a reinvigorated offshoot known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Security sources said that about thirty foreigners had been held, including two Malaysians and five Nigerians. “Some of them were arrested on suspicion of belonging to al-Qaeda, while others were arrested according to lists provided to Yemen security forces by US Intelligence,” an official said.

“Most of those arrested came to Yemen to study Arabic in the same school where Nigerian Omar Farouk had studied,” the official said, referring to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, who is awaiting trial charged with trying to blow up an aircraft bound for Detroit in December. He allegedly used explosives that were sewn into his underpants.

He had studied at the Sanaa institute last year and then went missing allegedly for training from al-Qaeda at camps in southeast Yemen.

One of the French detainees was identified as Jeremy Johnny Witter, 23, who had been studying at the Sanaa institute in the capital’s Old City. The school’s director, Muhammad al-Anisi, told The Times that he and his staff had become suspicious of the young man, who, like Mr Abdulmutallab, already spoke fluent Arabic and rarely attended classes.

Mr al-Anisi described the student as a “very quiet, very polite and very religious” young man who enrolled in December and took only a week of classes but stayed in the school’s dormitory nonetheless.

“After what happened with Umar Farouk we started to suspect anyone,” said Mr al-Anisi. “We wanted to deport him and took him to the airport several times but they didn’t deport him at the time they sent him back.”

Officials said that he had been placed under surveillance after being returned to the school.

Mr Witter had lived in Egypt for seven years before arriving in Yemen and was believed to be a convert to Islam. The other two French nationals were detained in April, officials said, while the majority of the others, including Mr Witter, were seized in May.

Mr Abdulmutallab reportedly told FBI interrogators after his arrest that he had met other English-speakers at a training camp in Yemen run by al-Qaeda. One of the most wanted jihadist leaders in Yemen is Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who preaches on the internet in English and Arabic, inciting young Muslims in the West to join the holy war. This year he became the first American citizen whose extrajudicial killing was authorised by the US President.

Mr al-Awlaki was believed to have helped to recruit Mr Abdulmutallab, who had been studying in London before going to Yemen, and was also believed to have been in e-mail contact with Major Nidal Malik Hasan the US army psychiatrist who allegedly killed 13 soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas, in November. Two of the 9/11 hijackers also attended sermons held by Mr al-Awlaki.

One of the Australians caught in last month’s dragnet was identified as Shyloh Jayne Giddens, a convert to Islam who moved to Yemen in 2006. She was placed under house arrest with her children, aged 7 and 5. Australia subsequently cancelled her passport for security reasons.

A Yemeni human rights group has called for her release, blaming her arrest, and the detention of two Bangladeshi women held at the same time, on “wrong US intelligence”.
My italics

It has been said that "Yemen is Pakistan in the heart of the Arab world".
So probably not top of the list of locations to study "Arabic as a Foreign Language".

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7145062.ece

Link to 10 Most Wanted al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
http://www.longwarjournal.org/multimedia/AQAP/
 
#4
Mr Abdulmutallab reportedly told FBI interrogators after his arrest that he had met other English-speakers at a training camp in Yemen run by al-Qaeda. One of the most wanted jihadist leaders in Yemen is Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who preaches on the internet in English and Arabic, inciting young Muslims in the West to join the holy war. This year he became the first American citizen whose extrajudicial killing was authorised by the US President.
God if only we had a right wing strong man like Obama as our leader... oh hang on a minute!!!
 

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