Nine men arrested in Britain on terrorism charges last week found inspiration and bomb-making instructions in an English-language Internet magazine published by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, British investigators reportedly said.
The revelation, relayed by British newspapers, provided the first known link between the nine British-based suspects, some of Bangladeshi origin, and an anti-Western terrorism campaign being waged by Yemen-based jihadists of Yemeni, Saudi, U.S. and other nationalities under the aegis of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
With the founding al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan under constant U.S. pressure, the Yemen-based group in recent months has become the most active branch of al-Qaida, launching attacks on Western targets. In response, the United States has deployed drones to conduct surveillance in Yemen and has launched cruise missile attacks in remote areas in repeated attempts to kill its leaders.
Despite the assaults, the group's outreach magazine, Inspire, published a first issue in July, including the article "Making a bomb in the kitchen of your mom," and has come out with two issues since then. All three were written in easily accessible English, as opposed to the heavily theological Arabic-language screeds of other jihadist sites, according to Mathieu Guidere, a terrorism specialist who teaches at the University of Geneva and concentrates on monitoring Islamic websites.
A statement issued Monday by British police said that between Oct. 1 and Dec. 20, the day of the arrests, the nine suspects were "researching, discussing, carrying out reconnaissance on, and agreeing on potential targets" for a terrorist bombing as well as "igniting and testing incendiary material." A State Department official in Washington said the U.S. Embassy in London was among the targets under discussion.
In a series of coordinated raids in three cities that appeared to be based on precise information, British police arrested 12 men in the early-morning hours. They later released three and kept nine in custody, charging them Monday with preparing to carry out the bombings.
Specialists have suggested that Inspire is being edited by Samir Khan, a Saudi-born U.S. citizen raised in Queens, N.Y., and Charlotte, N.C., before traveling to Yemen to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Khan, they have said, likely operates under the direction of Anwar al-Aulaqi, a U.S.-born cleric who also has found refuge in Yemen's isolated hill country and who officials have said was in contact with Nidal Malik Hasan, a disaffected American Army officer who is facing murder charges in the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.