October 26, 2012
Significant Terrorism Events in the News: Sept. 25- Oct. 22, 2012
START's Significant Terrorism Events in the News is designed to give a brief overview of the past month's most significant developments in terms of terrorism and counterterrorism. Cases were selected based on visibility in the news and regional diversity. The articles selected are intended to be a sample of current events regarding terrorism around the world and not a definitive list
Yemen: Guard at US Embassy killed in “al-Qaida style” attack
Qassem Aqlan, a U.S. Embassy employee for the last 10 years, was shot and killed on Oct. 11 by unknown gunmen riding a motor cycle in the capital city of Sana’a, Yemen. While no group has claimed official responsibility, it is suspected that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is responsible. Aqlan was on his way to work at the embassy when he was killed. He had been investigating the recent attack on the embassy that occurred on Sept. 13 , where three people were killed and 30 were wounded. According to the BBC, “Aqlan might have been killed because he was about to reveal ‘compelling evidence’ about who was behind the storming.”
- Yemen Post, “US Embassy employee killed in Sana’a,” Oct. 11, 2012.
- USA Today, “Yemen security officer at U.S. Embassy killed in Sanaa,” Oct. 11, 2012.
- BBC, “Yemeni employee of US embassy shot dead in Sanaa,” Oct. 11, 2012.
Nigeria: Boko Haram top commander arrested in home of serving senator
Boko Haram commander Shuaibu Muhammed Bama was arrested Oct. 18. State Security Service (SSS) in Nigeria suspects that he was arrested at the home of his uncle, Senator Ahmed Zanna, in Maiduguri, Nigeria. While the senator is denying the charge, he is scheduled for questioning by the SSS. Zanna has suggested that the arrest was actually made at the home of a former governor. This situation has increased suspicion among observers that local politicians may be supporting Boko Haram, according to the BBC. Boko Haram has carried out a campaign of attacks since 2009, killing hundreds, with a goal of creating an Islamic state in the northern region of Nigeria.
- United Press International, “Nigerian senator denies aiding terrorist,” Oct. 22, 2012.
- Daily Trust, "Nigeria: Boko Haram Chief’s Arrest – SSS to Quiz Senator Today,” Oct. 22, 2012.
- BBC, “Nigeria army arrests ‘Boko Haram commander’,” Oct. 21, 2012.
- Reuters, “Nigerian Army Arrests Boko Haram Member at Senator’s Home,” Oct. 20, 2012.
Jordan: 11 arrested for plot to attack malls and diplomatic targets
Authorities in Jordan claim that they have foiled a plot to attack shopping malls and other targets frequently visited by international diplomats and their families. Officials speaking anonymously to the Washington Post described a complex plan including attacking softer civilian targets first to distract authorities and potentially make harder government targets, like the U.S. Embassy, more vulnerable. According to reports from media sources, the 11 individuals arrested planned to use a combination of suicide vests, car bombs, machine guns and grenades. Authorities have stated that these individuals are linked al-Qaida in Iraq and the individuals obtained some of their material from Syria, but have also made it clear that this event is not linked to the civil war currently being waged in that country.
- Washington Post, “Jordan disrupts major al-Qaeda terrorist plot,” Oct. 21, 2012
- BBC, “Jordan ‘al-Qaeda plot uncovered’,” Oct. 21, 2012.
- New York Times, “Jordan Says 11 Plotted a Series of Attacks,” Oct. 21, 2012.
- Reuters, “Jordan foils Qaeda plot, arrests 11 militants: state TV,” Oct 21, 2012.
This compilation of Significant Terrorism Events in the News was edited by START Researcher Jaime Shoemaker.