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2/8/03 - TERRORIST ARRESTS WORLDWIDE - 2003-02-10


As President George W. Bush said, no matter how long it takes, the United States and its allies will bring terrorists to justice. That effort continues around the world.

Indonesian authorities are holding the alleged leader of Southeast Asia's most prominent terrorist group. Police arrested Mas Selamat Kastari (sale-ah-mat kas-TAR-ee) of the Singapore cell of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. The goal of Jemaah Islamiyah is to create an Islamic state made up of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the southern Philippines. The group is believed to have carried out last year's bombings on the tourist island of Bali, killing nearly two-hundred people from several countries, most from Australia. Kastari allegedly hatched a failed plot to fly a hijacked plane into Singapore's main airport. He has reportedly helped al-Qaida plan attacks on U.S. military personnel and their families in Singapore.

In Italy, authorities have arrested twenty-eight Pakistanis after explosives and maps were found at an apartment in Naples. Police found dynamite, fuses, a circled newspaper photo of Britain's military chief, and pages of a map of a suburb where a NATO military base is located.

In Spain, sixteen suspected terrorists believed to be linked to the al-Qaida terror network have been arrested. Police in Barcelona and other cities found explosives, chemicals, other bomb-making materials, and false passports at the suspects' homes. The terrorist suspects were allegedly preparing to launch chemical attacks. British authorities believe that some of the suspects recently visited London. In January, police in London raided a mosque and arrested seven men in connection with the discovery of ricin poison at a London residence, which netted five other arrests.

Elsewhere, an Israeli military court has sentenced a Palestinian man to twenty-seven years in jail for training with the al-Qaida network and planning to carry out attacks against Israelis. Nabil Okal (na-beel O-kahl) is a member of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. In 1998, he traveled to Afghanistan where he met a deputy of bin Laden and attended a training camp. After his return to Israel, he formed a terrorist cell to carry out attacks against Israelis in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The war against terrorism will not be won on the defensive. The U.S. is working with more than ninety countries to disrupt terror networks like al-Qaida. As President Bush said, the best way to fight “is to go after terrorists where they plan and hide. And that work goes on around the world.”

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