Perhaps al-Qaeda is trying to exploit Somali anger at the recent US-pirate standoff, and redirect it to the jihad? Not really: “interaction between pirate groups and Somalia’s Al Qaeda-linked groups was first noticed about nine months ago.”
“Qaeda asks Somalis to attack “˜crusader” ships,” from the Daily Times, April 19:
Terrorist organisation trying to exploit anti-Western sentiment among well-armed youth with access to boats and maritime skills
LAHORE: A Saudi Al Qaeda operative has called on Somali comrades to step up their attacks on “˜crusaders” in the Gulf of Aden, and in Djibouti.
“To our steadfast brethren in Somalia, take caution and prepare yourselves,” Sa”id Ali Jabir Al Khathim Al Shihri says in an audiotape acquired by CBS News. “Increase your strikes against the crusaders at sea and in Djibouti.”
It was the first clear sign that Al Qaeda was trying to take advantage of anti-Western sentiment, and a ready supply of well-armed young men in Somalia with access to boats and maritime skills.
A maritime intelligence source told a CBS correspondent that interaction between pirate groups and Somalia’s Al Qaeda-linked groups was first noticed about nine months ago.
The source said it was now “˜inconceivable” that Al Qaeda would not benefit financially from the successful pirate hijackings.
Following the rescue of the Maersk Alabama by the US Navy, during which three pirates were killed and another captured, there were threats against any American crew members found in future hijackings.
Shihri, captured near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan in December of 2001, was among the first detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay. After being held without charge for almost six years, he was released to Saudi authorities and enrolled in a rehabilitation programme there.
Following his release, he went to Yemen and was subsequently described as a deputy leader in an Al Qaeda press release.