Terrorist gets 15 years for JFK airport plot

JFK, JFK airport, terrorismA terrorist who plotted to blow up fuel tanks at JFK airport has been given 15 years in prison, the BBC reports. Abdel Nur, a citizen from Guyana, tried to meet an Al-Qaeda explosives expert in order to blow up JFK airport’s fuel depot, and the fuel lines that run below an adjoining neighborhood. He hoped to kill thousands in the attack.

Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim , and Abdul Kadir were also arrested. Kadir is a former member of parliament from Guyana and is now serving a life sentence. Defreitas has been found guilty and will be sentenced in February. Ibrahim’s trial is scheduled for April.

The plot was foiled when Kadir and Defreitas discussed their plans in front of an unnamed informant. This informant recorded their conversation and alerted authorities. This last detail is interesting. These radical Muslims would hardly have discussed such a plan in front of a non-Muslim. It stands to reason, then, that the informant is a Muslim. What these two nutcases didn’t understand is that most Muslims aren’t terrorists. This fact will almost certainly be lost amid the news of another “Muslim terrorist plot”.

There are no hard figures for the number of Muslims in the United States since the U.S. Census doesn’t record religion. One study by Dr. Tom W. Smith of the University of Chicago estimates the Muslim population in the U.S. at around 1.9-2.8 million. If most Muslims were terrorists, as many people believe, the U.S. would be suffering attacks every day. Luckily this is not the case. Vigilance defeats terrorists, fear and stereotyping helps them win.

[Photo courtesy Doug Letterman]

Orthodox Jew causes bomb alert by praying

bomb, bomb scare, tefillinDo these look like bombs to you? They did to the crew of a New Zealand ferry. So much so that they radioed the police, who were waiting for the man wearing them when the ferry docked. Then the armed cops forced him and a companion to the floor.

All in a day’s work fighting terror. Or not.

In fact they’re tefillin, known in English as phylacteries , and they’re an essential part of Orthodox Jewish prayer. When the man strapped these to his arm and head in order to pray, the crew thought the little boxes looked like bombs and the straps like wires. The fact that these leather boxes are only a little more than an inch to a side wasn’t enough to reassure them.

This is a perfect example of how travel leads to a more understanding world. Before I visited Israel at age 20, I’d never seen tefillin and didn’t know what they were. Call me soft on terror, but I didn’t have a panic attack the first time I saw them, either. Travel teaches you that not everything different is weird, scary, and dangerous. Perhaps the crew of the ferry should stop shuttling back and forth between Wellington and Picton and see a bit more of the world.

[Photo courtesy user Chesdovi via Wikimedia Commons]

Suspected bomb on airplane was a “dummy”

bombYesterday’s potential bomb on an Air Berlin flight from Namibia to Germany turns out to have been an American-made “dummy” used by security officials for training, BBC reports.

The “bomb” consists of a detonator, wires, and a ticking clock and is put in a suitcase and through the system to measure the efficiency of an airport’s security. The device did not contain explosives and was detected before being put on the plane, so score one for Namibian airport security. But here’s the catch–there was no security test going on. So either it was put on by accident (unlikely) or someone decided to create a scare. Local police are investigating and with tourism being such a big money maker in Namibia, whoever was responsible faces some serious consequences. I wonder what the inside of a Namibian jail looks like?

The first wind we had of this new development came from Gadling reader Sabrina, who read about it on German news. Vielen Dank, Sabrina!

Breaking news: Suspected bomb found on German airline

bombA flight from Namibia to Germany was delayed earlier today after a suspected bomb was found in a suitcase. The package included a detonator, batteries, and a clock, the BBC reports. Details are unclear at this moment and it is not known if the device was an actual bomb or simply meant to intimidate.

The suspected bomb was found before it was loaded onto an Air Berlin flight from Windhoek to Munich. The flight was delayed for several hours as all passengers and luggage were checked. It has now safely completed its journey.

Germany has recently upped its security because of intelligence that an attack was imminent.

An interesting detail in this case was that the suitcase had no destination sticker, suggesting that it did not go through normal check-in procedures.

[Photo courtesy user Arcturus via Wikimedia Commons]

Disruptive passenger arrested in Denver after bomb threat

A disruptive passenger was arrested at Denver International Airport this past weekend when he said he had a bomb. The passenger was late for a flight to Salt Lake City, missed the connection and left his luggage on the plane. After being “disruptive in the gate area” and making inappropriate comments,” a United Airlines spokesman told CNN, the passenger claimed he had a bomb in his bag.

This was enough to get the plane back to the gate – not to mention the bag off the plane. This was followed by an hour-long delay while the incident was investigated by the authorities.

Now, the passenger is being charged with interfering with public transportation. A trip to the Denver jail is in his future, according to the report.

[photo by cliff1066 via Flickr]