Daily Archives: June 10, 2017

London Bridge Attacker Tried to Rent Larger Truck

LONDON � The carnage of the London Bridge attack could have been worse: One of the attackers tried to rent a larger truck that could have killed more people, but his payment was declined. The bloodthirsty gang was also shot dead before they could make their way back to the van where their petrol bombs were stored.

In a rare glimpse into the weeklong investigation, police released details on Saturday that showed Khuram Butt originally tried to rent a 7.5 ton truck. The intended truck was smaller but similar to the one used in the Nice attack last year that killed 86 people and injured hundreds in the resort town in the south of France.

After his payment was declined, Butt and his two accomplices rented a smaller van that they used to plow into crowds before they leapt from the vehicle and went on a stabbing rampage in an attack that left eight people dead and nearly 50 people injured. It was the third such deadly attack in Britain in the three months.

Knives featured pink blades

After leaving the small white van, the men used 12-inch knives with bright pink blades, according to Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command.

Police also disclosed that multiple petrol bombs were discovered in the van, and a copy of the Quran opened at a page describing martyrdom was found at one of the attackers’ houses.

Investigators believe three victims were killed on the bridge, including one man who was thrown into the Thames River, before the attackers left the vehicle and stabbed five people to death around London’s busy Borough Market, Haydon said. Police believe Butt was driving the van.

When I come back to Butt trying getting hold of a 7.5 ton lorry � the effect could have been even worse, he said.

Molotov cocktails found

More than a dozen wine bottles filled with flammable liquid and rags wrapped around them in the shape of Molotov cocktails were found in the van. Two blow torches were also found.

Haydon said the men may have been planning even more bloodshed if they had survived their stabbing spree and made it back to the van.

Police also found a number of office chairs, gravel and a suitcase in the van.

Detectives believe the gravel may have been placed in the vehicle to make it heavier, or as part of a cover to justify hiring it, while the chairs may have been used to convince family and friends they were moving furniture.

Butt, a 27-year-old Pakistan-born British citizen, and his two accomplices, Rachid Redouane, 30, who claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan, and Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Italian national of Moroccan descent, were shot dead by armed police eight minutes after the first emergency call.

Fake suicide belts

The three attackers were wearing fake suicide belts consisting of plastic water bottles wrapped in grey duct tape.

Haydon described the pink knives as pretty unusual and appealed for anyone with information about where they came from to contact police.

Police raided Redouane’s small residence on Tuesday and said he had been renting it since April. This was the safe house where the attack was planned, police said. In the residence, police found an English language copy of the Quran opened at a page describing martyrdom, pieces of cloth which appeared to match material wrapped around the petrol bombs and water bottles similar to those used in the fake suicide vests, police said. Luggage straps, plastic retractable craft knives and rolls of duct tape were also found.

Eighteen people have been arrested in connection with last week’s attack. All but five have been released. Searches are continuing.

Questions remain

The question remains how the men met and knew one another but police said Saturday they did not suspect a wider plot.

It looks as if it is pretty much a contained plot involving the three of them, which is supported by the forensic evidence we’ve got back so far, Haydon said.

Butt, who police consider the attack ringleader, had been on bail after being arrested for fraud in a case in October of last year, police said. He had also been repeatedly reported to police for violent behavior and trying to recruit young children to the Islamic State group as well as featuring in the documentary, The Jihadis Next Door, where he was seen next to a group of men unfurling a black-and-white flag scrawled with Arabic script and associated with the Islamic State group.

Warned by police

There was no evidence uncovered of any attack-planning in relation to him,’ Haydon said.

Butt had been warned by police on two occasions � once for fraud in 2008 and once in 2010 for assault. Still, he did not have any criminal convictions.

Zaghba and Redouane lacked any criminal convictions or such warnings in Britain.

From what I’m seeing, there is nothing that suggests at the moment that we got that wrong, Haydon said, referring to Butt.

Source: Voice of America

Pakistani Man Sentenced to Death for Anti-Islam Content on Social Media

ISLAMABAD �

An anti-terrorism court in central Pakistan on Saturday sentenced a man, aged 30, to death for posting blasphemous content on social media.

The judge conducted the judicial proceedings in the high-security prison in the city of Bahawalpur, prosecutor Mohammad Shafiq Qureshi told VOA.

The prosecutor explained that the court found Taimoor Raza guilty of using Facebook and WhatsApp to disseminate” or “upload” hate material, including “offensive pictures and comments against Prophet Mohammad and his companions. Raza has the right to appeal the verdict.

Qureshi said the Facebook account Raza was running had more than 3,500 friends, or followers.

The defense counsel was not immediately available for comments on the allegations against his client.

Counterterrorism forces arrested Raza about a year ago and police records showed the man had confessed he was working for outlawed Sipah-e-Muhammad, which is a Shi’ite militant group.

The organization has been locked in a deadly rivalry with militants from Pakistan’s majority Sunni Muslim population. The years of sectarian conflict has killed thousands of people around the country.

Pakistani authorities have been cracking down on social media activists suspected of disseminating blasphemous content through their accounts.

Dozens of activists have been detained or questioned in recent weeks in Pakistan, prompting harsh criticism from rights defenders.

Opposition parties have alleged the crackdown in the name of religion is mainly aimed at silencing political dissent and deterring critics who are calling for accountability of the country’s powerful military institution, along with its alleged intervention in political matters.

Pakistani officials deny the charges.

Insulting Prophet Mohammad can carry a death penalty in Pakistan.

Earlier this week, the country’s Supreme Court exonerated a man sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court on allegations of desecrating the Holy book of Quran.

The ruling noted that the lower courts “appeared to have not conducted a fair trial of the case” before awarding the punishment.

Source: Voice of America

PRIVATIZATION OF QUAID-E-AZAM SOLAR POWER PRIVATE LTD APPROVED

Punjab Cabinet at its meeting with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the chairing Lahore on Saturday, approved privatization of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Private Limited.

The Chief Minister said investors have shown keen interest in the privatization of this project.

The Chief Minister directed for formation of Standing Committee of the Cabinet to monitor privatization process of the company.

The provincial Cabinet also approved establishment of Punjab Thermal Power Company Limited for new twelve hundred megawatt gas power Project.

The meeting also approved Amendment in Punjab Servents Housing Foundation Act 2004, amendment in Provincial Motor Vehicles Ordinance Schedule 12 and Punjab Zakat and Ushar Act 2016.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Boko Haram slit villagers’ throats in revenge killings

Kano (IINA) � Boko Haram have slit the throats of four Nigerian villagers in revenge for the arrest of a senior member of the terrorist group, AFP reported quoting residents on Friday.

Ten gunmen on motorbikes stormed the northeastern Cameroonian border village of Hambagda near Gwoza, once the capital of Boko Haram’s self-announced caliphate, on Thursday before kidnapping six people and killing four others. They asked people to assemble but everyone started running towards the bush, said local resident Usman Buba. They seized six people in the confusion and slaughtered four while two managed to escape. The attack came a day after soldiers arrested Boko Haram commander Adamu Rugurugu during a village raid.

Buba said the terrorists who attacked Hambagda on Thursday afternoon, decided to slit their victims’ throats instead of shooting them to avoid attracting the attention of troops stationed in Gwoza, two kilometers away. The attack was evidently in reprisal for the arrest of a Boko Haram kingpin who has been terrorizing the village, Buba said. Another resident, Dahiru Alkali, confirmed his account, adding that villagers had complained to soldiers of incessant attacks by Rugurugu and his men.

The two witnesses were able to reach AFP by telephone after arriving in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state. Boko Haram seized Gwoza in July 2014 and made it their headquarters at a time when they were seizing swathes of northeast Nigeria in their bid to form a hard-line Islamist state. Nigerian troops retook the town in March 2015 but Boko Haram have continued to raid nearby villages from their hideouts in the mountains along the border with Cameroon, despite the government’s insistence that calm has been restored to the area.

In April, Boko Haram kidnapped 13 women who were picking fruit near Hambagda, while a month earlier its fighters abducted 18 girls from the nearby village of Pulka. Large areas around Lake Chad and the Cameroon border remain inaccessible in an ongoing insurgency that has killed at least 20,000 since 2009. Eleven people were killed on Wednesday when Boko Haram gunmen and suicide bombers launched a rare combined attack inside Maiduguri.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

London Bridge Attacker Tried to Rent Larger Truck

LONDON � The carnage of the London Bridge attack could have been worse: One of the attackers tried to rent a larger truck that could have killed more people, but his payment was declined. The bloodthirsty gang was also shot dead before they could make their way back to the van where their petrol bombs were stored.

In a rare glimpse into the weeklong investigation, police released details on Saturday that showed Khuram Butt originally tried to rent a 7.5 ton truck. The intended truck was smaller but similar to the one used in the Nice attack last year that killed 86 people and injured hundreds in the resort town in the south of France.

After his payment was declined, Butt and his two accomplices rented a smaller van that they used to plow into crowds before they leapt from the vehicle and went on a stabbing rampage in an attack that left eight people dead and nearly 50 people injured. It was the third such deadly attack in Britain in the three months.

Knives featured pink blades

After leaving the small white van, the men used 12-inch knives with bright pink blades, according to Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command.

Police also disclosed that multiple petrol bombs were discovered in the van, and a copy of the Quran opened at a page describing martyrdom was found at one of the attackers’ houses.

Investigators believe three victims were killed on the bridge, including one man who was thrown into the Thames River, before the attackers left the vehicle and stabbed five people to death around London’s busy Borough Market, Haydon said. Police believe Butt was driving the van.

When I come back to Butt trying getting hold of a 7.5 ton lorry � the effect could have been even worse, he said.

Molotov cocktails found

More than a dozen wine bottles filled with flammable liquid and rags wrapped around them in the shape of Molotov cocktails were found in the van. Two blow torches were also found.

Haydon said the men may have been planning even more bloodshed if they had survived their stabbing spree and made it back to the van.

Police also found a number of office chairs, gravel and a suitcase in the van.

Detectives believe the gravel may have been placed in the vehicle to make it heavier, or as part of a cover to justify hiring it, while the chairs may have been used to convince family and friends they were moving furniture.

Butt, a 27-year-old Pakistan-born British citizen, and his two accomplices, Rachid Redouane, 30, who claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan, and Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Italian national of Moroccan descent, were shot dead by armed police eight minutes after the first emergency call.

Fake suicide belts

The three attackers were wearing fake suicide belts consisting of plastic water bottles wrapped in grey duct tape.

Haydon described the pink knives as pretty unusual and appealed for anyone with information about where they came from to contact police.

Police raided Redouane’s small residence on Tuesday and said he had been renting it since April. This was the safe house where the attack was planned, police said. In the residence, police found an English language copy of the Quran opened at a page describing martyrdom, pieces of cloth which appeared to match material wrapped around the petrol bombs and water bottles similar to those used in the fake suicide vests, police said. Luggage straps, plastic retractable craft knives and rolls of duct tape were also found.

Eighteen people have been arrested in connection with last week’s attack. All but five have been released. Searches are continuing.

Questions remain

The question remains how the men met and knew one another but police said Saturday they did not suspect a wider plot.

It looks as if it is pretty much a contained plot involving the three of them, which is supported by the forensic evidence we’ve got back so far, Haydon said.

Butt, who police consider the attack ringleader, had been on bail after being arrested for fraud in a case in October of last year, police said. He had also been repeatedly reported to police for violent behavior and trying to recruit young children to the Islamic State group as well as featuring in the documentary, The Jihadis Next Door, where he was seen next to a group of men unfurling a black-and-white flag scrawled with Arabic script and associated with the Islamic State group.

Warned by police

There was no evidence uncovered of any attack-planning in relation to him,’ Haydon said.

Butt had been warned by police on two occasions � once for fraud in 2008 and once in 2010 for assault. Still, he did not have any criminal convictions.

Zaghba and Redouane lacked any criminal convictions or such warnings in Britain.

From what I’m seeing, there is nothing that suggests at the moment that we got that wrong, Haydon said, referring to Butt.

Source: Voice of America