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Al-Qaida takes new hit with loss of East Africa plotter

[ 2011-06-13 10:38]     字号 [] [] []  
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The killing in Somalia of a top al-Qaida militant deepens the group's woes a month after Osama bin Laden's death, but Fazul Mohammed's recent role as a trainer of aspiring operatives may have left a menacing legacy.

Somali police said on Saturday that Mohammed, one of the world's most wanted men and a master of attack planning, disguise, evasion and languages, had been killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Tuesday.

Washington said Mohammed, also known as Harun, was a key suspect in the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which killed 240 people.

Mohammed, believed to be in his late 30s, also masterminded an attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya in November 2002 that killed 15 people, Western officials said.

But in recent years he is believed by some academics and security experts to have spent as much time training militants as directly plotting against the West, sharing his expertise with young Somalis and with Muslims who traveled to Somalia to gain paramilitary experience.

"His death is a loss for al-Qaida, but I think his more recent role as a trainer must have given it a great investment," said Nelly Lahoud, an associate professor at the Combating Terrorism Center at the US West Point military academy.

"He's one of those success stories of al-Qaida. He felt he had a duty to teach everything he knew ... He was the gift that kept on giving," said Lahoud, who has studied Mohammed's 2009 autobiography War on Islam: The Story of Fazul Harun.

The Somali government said hundreds of foreign fighters have joined the insurgency from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Gulf region and Western nations such as the United States and Britain. Some of the foreign jihadists have taken up leadership positions in militant groups.


1. What is the capital of Somalia?

2. How many people died in the 1998 US embassy attacks?

3. When was the attack on the hotel in Kenya?


1. Mogadishu.

2. 240.

3. 2002.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Al-Qaida takes new hit with loss of East Africa plotter

About the broadcaster:

Al-Qaida takes new hit with loss of East Africa plotter

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.