December 30, 2010

Munir Awad's luck might just have run out

Long championed by the Cageprisoner organization (associated with former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg), Munir Awad was first arrested - along with his wife - in East Africa, as they attempted to flee the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. The happy couple were well-enough acquainted with convicted American terrorist Daniel Maldonado that when Awad's wife was captured, she was holding Maldonado's dying wife in her arms. Awad's wife, incidentally, is Safia Benaouda, the daughter of Helena Benaouda, chairman of the Muslim Council of Sweden. Captured by Kenyan forces and subsequently held by the Ethiopians, Awad and Benaouda were released as a result of pressure from the government of Sweden. That was circa 2006. Benaouda's account of her captivity is often cited in Cageprisoner's reports.

In August of 2009 Munir and Safia were again arrested, this time in Pakistan. They and their traveling companions had no visas and were in terrorist-controlled territory at the time of their capture. They claimed to be making their way to Mecca by way of a Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Lahore. They were allegedly in possession of a suicide bomb belt, terrorism-related books and CDs, and a large amount of cash. Among those arrested with them was former Guantanamo detainee (and Swedish citizen) Mehdi Ghezali. Again they were released at the insistence of the government of Sweden.

This week Munir Awad was arrested in Copenhagen with four co-conspirators. They were planning to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and were found in possession of a submachine-gun, silencer, ammunition, and plastic zip-ties of the sort suitable for restraining hostages. They may also have had explosives, as Danish police evacuated a building linked to the suspects last night and were seen sending in a bomb disposal robot.

The fifth suspect, arrested in Sweden, is identified as Sahbi Zalouti. Zalouti was also arrested in Pakistan in August of 2009, separately from Munir and Safia. He claimed to have lost his all his papers when his backpack was allegedly stolen, as he traveled about Baluchistan for alleged purpose of "spreading information about Islam". Zalouti was subsequently released to Sweden.

The description of their planned attack as "Mumbai-style" may be more than coincidental given the suspicious travels to Pakistan in 2009. "Mumbai-lite" might be more accurate since they apparently only had one gun.

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Sources for the above include, but are not limited to, the following:

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20101230-705887.html
http://www.stockholmnews.com/more.aspx?NID=6498
http://www.vg.no/nyheter/utenriks/terrorisme/artikkel.php?artid=10020875
http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/1.2272602/munir-awad-en-av-de-haktade-tidigare-misstankt-som-terrorist
http://www.svd.se/nyheter/inrikes/har-tidigare-gripits-i-pakistan_5836749.svd
http://www.nordjyske.dk/artikel/10/5/2/3755271/3/terrormist%E6nkt%20er%20en%20gammel%20kending
See also
http://gudmundson.blogspot.com/

By Hetz Shahor at 02:18 PM | Comments |