The Turkish Islamic charity behind a flotilla of aid ships that was raided by Israeli forces on its way to Gaza had ties to terrorism networks, including a 1999 al-Qaida plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, France's former top anti-terrorism judge said Wednesday.Strange. The French validate the ties but the U.S. couldn't?
The Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, known by its Turkish acronym IHH, had "clear, long-standing ties to terrorism and Jihad," former investigating judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Bruguiere, who led the French judiciary's counterterrorism unit for nearly two decades before retiring in 2007, didn't indicate if IHH still has terror ties, but said it did when he investigated it in the late 1990s.
"They were basically helping al-Qaida when (Osama) bin Laden started to want to target U.S. soil," he said.
Some members of an international terrorism cell known as the Fateh Kamel network then worked at the IHH, he said. Kamel, an Algerian-Canadian dual national, had ties to the nascent al-Qaida, Bruguiere said.
Among Kamel's followers was Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian who was arrested in the U.S. state of Washington in December 1999 on his way to bomb Los Angeles International Airport as part of an al-Qaida plot.
IHH vehemently denies ties to radical groups. The group is not among some 45 groups listed as terrorists by the U.S. State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.[...]
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that "we know that IHH representatives have met with senior Hamas officials in Turkey, Syria, and Gaza over the past three years."
But, he said the U.S. could not "validate" that IHH has connections to al Qaida.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Yes, that's right...
The Courier Journal picks up on the AP article written by Alfred de Montesquiou.