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Significant Terrorism Events in the News: April 2013

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. The 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.

United Arab Emirates: Seven arrested with suspected ties to al-Qa`ida
According to the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), seven individuals from unmentioned Arab countries were arrested under the pretext that they were part of a "terrorist cell" linked to al-Qa`ida. It is not clear within media sources if the individuals arrested were linked to al-Qa`ida proper or a regionally focused group, such as al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or al-Qa`ida in Iraq.

The UAE state news agency, WAM, believes those arrested are involved in "recruit[ing] people, promot[ing] al-Qa`ida and provid[ing] finances and logistical support to the organization" (BBC). In the past, human rights activists criticized The United Arab Emirates for labeling any dissidents within the country as "terrorist." A mass trial is underway for 94 individuals accused of having ties to a radical Islamic group and involvement in a suspected plot to oust the government.

Afghanistan: Taliban captures foreigners after helicopter makes emergency landing
The Taliban kidnapped 11 civilians after the civilians' helicopter was forced to land due to poor weather conditions. According to news sources, those currently in captivity are eight Turks, two Russians and an Afghan translator. While the Taliban claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, as of April 23, the media has not published their demands.

The Taliban claimed the helicopter was a US-NATO helicopter and those kidnapped were military. However, according to the New York Times, it is common for the Taliban to misrepresent or inflate information. Multiple media and government sources stated that the helicopter was chartered to transport Turkish construction workers to Kabul.

Somalia: Suicide attack on court complex kills more than 20 people
At least 20 people were killed on April 14 when a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives near the gate of a Mogadishu court complex, destroying it. This allowed several more gunmen to enter the compound and a gun battle ensued. Media sources reported the gunmen were wearing suicide vests, and there were additional explosions during the two-hour attack.

In a phone conversation with Reuters, an al-Shabaab representative claimed responsibility and stated the "blasts eliminated the dreams of the puppet government" (BBC). The representative also called the attack "a superb intense mission" (Reuters). Among those killed were journalists, lawyers, judges, guards and civilians.

This compilation of Significant Terrorism Events in the News was edited by START Researcher Jaime Shoemaker.