A New Face of Jihad Vows Attacks on U.S.

[New York Times] Souad Mekhennet and Michael Moss - A new militant Islamic organization called Fatah al-Islam, whose leader is a fugitive Palestinian named Shakir al-Abssi, has set up operations in a refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon, training fighters and spreading the ideology of al-Qaeda. A former associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia who was killed last summer, Abssi was sentenced to death in absentia along with Zarqawi in the 2002 assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, Laurence Foley. Just four months after arriving in Tripoli from Syria, Abssi has a militia estimated at 150 men and an arsenal of explosives, rockets, and even an antiaircraft gun. Intelligence officials say he has 50 militants from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries fresh from fighting with the insurgency in Iraq. Intelligence officials have warned that al-Qaeda is reforming as an alliance of small groups around the world that share a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam but have developed their own independent terror capabilities. If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed represents the previous generation of Qaeda leaders, Abssi and others like him represent the new.

2007-03-16 01:00:00

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