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12/28/03 - AL-QAIDA SET BACK - 2003-12-29

Growing numbers of al-Qaida terrorists and their friends are landing in jail because of international cooperation in the war against terror.

Turkish police arrested a leader of the cell responsible for the bombings of two synagogues, the British consulate, and a British bank in Istanbul. Adnan Ersoz reportedly received al-Qaida terrorist training in Afghanistan in 1997 and met with Osama bin Laden in 2001. He served as liaison between al-Qaida leaders and the terrorist cell in Turkey. He is one of more than thirty suspects taken into custody by Turkish police in connection with the November bombings.

Syrian authorities arrested at least six al-Qaida couriers carrying more than twenty-three million dollars. Earlier, Syria handed over to Turkish authorities twenty-two suspects in the November bombings in Istanbul.

Authorities in Singapore announced the arrest of two members of al Ghuraba, the Pakistan branch of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group, also linked to al-Qaida. The suspects, Muhammad Arif bin Naharudin and Muhammad Amin Bin Mohammed, had undergone training in weapons and explosives. Arif went to a Kashmiri camp run by the Lashkar e-Tayyiba terrorist group, and Amin went to an al-Qaida camp, the Singapore government said.

Malaysian authorities are holding five al-Ghuraba terrorist suspects deported from Pakistan. They too were trained by al-Qaida and reportedly met with bin Laden in late 2001.

President George W. Bush says the terrorists responsible for bombings in Turkey, Indonesia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, India, and elsewhere are a threat to everyone:

"They are part of a global campaign by terrorist networks to intimidate and demoralize all who oppose them. These terrorists target the innocent and they kill by the thousands. And they would, if they gain the weapons they seek, kill by the millions and not be finished."

"We will face these threats with open eyes," said President Bush, "and we will defeat them."