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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Former Washwood Heath schoolboy linked to new Pakistan terror violence




Article from the Evening mail

A MILITANT group headed by Birmingham-born terror mastermind Rashid Rauf has been linked to the new wave of deadly violence in Pakistan.

The country was rocked by a series of bombings on Wednesday – including a huge car blast in Peshawar – which have killed more than 100 people. Now it has emerged Rauf and his Jaish-e-Mohammed group had reportedly linked up with Taliban fighters for the attacks.

Around 300 Pakistanis have died in more than ten separate bombing raids in the space of a month, as the army looks to rid the disputed Kashmir Swat Valley of Taliban-backed insurgents.

Recent simultaneous attacks in Kohat, Lahore and Peshawar have been attributed to the Pakistani branch of the Taliban. They continue to defy security services despite their feared leader Baitullah Mehsud being killed in a US drone attack in August.

The bombings bear the hallmarks of Rauf’s “terror spectaculars”, which included the 2006 liquid bomb plot to down ten transatlantic planes using makeshift bombs made from Lucozade bottles.

The recent carnage in Pakistan has been launched from South Waziristan, where the Brummie is believed to be hiding out.

Last month we revealed the baker’s son survived a US drone attack in November 2008, despite claims he was among those who died in a missile strike on suspected Al Qaida militants. Pakistani papers have reported that Rauf, 28, is among a number of high profile Kashmiri militants to join the ranks of the Taliban in tribal borderlands.

His well-trained, battle-hardened Jaish-e-Mohammed fighters are also understood to be actively involved in the planning and execution of suicide attacks and car bombings.

The former Washwood Heath High pupil was named number five in a secret list of the top ten most wanted terror operatives in the lawless tribal regions of North West Pakistan.

The list, distributed to field commanders in September, showed for the first time that Rauf, a chief recruiter for Al Qaeda attacks in Europe, is still at large despite last November’s US airstrike.

The body of Rauf, whose arrest led to the capture of the three men convicted earlier this year of plotting transatlantic airline liquid bomb attacks, was never produced – and no DNA were samples taken to confirm that he died.

His family has consistently denied he is dead and signals intelligence intercepts by the CIA and other intelligence agencies suggest he is still on the run. Rauf turned to terrorism after fleeing to Pakistan in 2002 following the brutal murder of his uncle Mohammed Saeed in Alum Rock, Birmingham.

He met and married a close relative of Maulana Masood Azhar, the notorious founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed, in 2003.

Since then he has risen to become a leading figure in the group and is reported to be Al Qaida’s contact for British men travelling to Pakistan to fight allied forces in Afghanistan.

http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2009/11/01/former-washwood-heath-schoolboy-linked-to-new-pakistan-terror-violence-97319-25065243/

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