Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bosnia Herzegovina’s “Algerian group” (2007 report)

The Algerians were uncovered following a telephone call from
their leader Belacem Bensayah, also called Merdz, who made telephone calls
from his number in Zenica, 032 420 737, on several occasions to Abu
Zubejdah, one of Usamah Bin-Ladin’s closest associates. As we know, the call
was intercepted by the Americans, who, very soon afterward, uncovered the
other members of the “Algerian Group,” as well as their intentions.
This issue had also been discussed earlier by the coordination team for
combating terrorism in B-H, which was formed after the terrorist attacks on
New York and Washington on 11 September 2001. This committee recommended to
the relevant Federation bodies to revoke the B-H citizenships of all the
members of the “Algerian Group,” which was done, so the following people
were stripped of B-H citizenship, based on the decision of the Federation
Interior Ministry: Hadj Boudell, Saber Lahmar, Lakhdar Boumedien, and
Mohamed Nechl. The remaining two members, Mustafa Ait Idir and Belacem
Bensayah, did not have B-H citizenship. At least not under these names.
It might be interesting to recall that almost all of the “Algerian Group”
worked for various Islamic humanitarian organizations in B-H, such as the
Saudi High Relief Committee for B-H and the International Charity
Foundation, the first humanitarian organization to be banned over its links
with international terrorism. That their work had not much to do with
humanitarian activities can be seen from the fact that “Algerian Group”
leader Belacem Bensayah had $3.5 million in his account at Vakufska Bank.
Apart from the Algerian Group, B-H at the time also offered a safe haven to
the so-called “Egyptian Group,” which was suspected of direct links with the
notorious terrorist group “Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya.” Tomislav Limov, former
deputy Federation interior minister, revealed at the time that the members
of the “Egyptian Group” were Seror Said, also known as Abu Minah, one of the
commanders of the notorious El-Mujahidin unit, then Ahmad al-Vakil, Gamal
al-Huseini, Hasan al-Nagli, Mamdur Dzabir al-Mitavali, Kaleg Bakarat, Hosni
Ibrahim, and Asaraf Hasan. All of them, as Limov said at the time, had B-H
Nevertheless, the “Egyptian Group” disappeared from B-H without a trace,
just like the so-called “Bologna Group,” whose extradition from B-H was
requested by Italy. The B-H Federation police also lost Salih Nidal, a
Yemeni member of the “Bologna Group,” who had been under police
surveillance. Another Al-Qa’idah member, Ahmad Zuhair Handala, also
disappeared mysteriously from B-H; he was the mastermind of the car bomb in
Mostar in 1997.
Handala was linked with the “Hamburg Group,” which was accused of organizing
the attack on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001. Another Arab in
B-H, Tunisian Karaj Kamel Bin Ali, was suspected by German investigators of
links to the “Hamburg Group.” He has been in Zenica prison for several years
Several years ago, the influential Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth
reported that Alija Izetbegovic, the Bosniak wartime leader and post-war B-H
Presidency chairman, distributed almost 13,000 passports to Islamic holy
warriors, of whom 3,000 were the most extreme terrorists. To recall, B-H
passports have been found on terrorists’ bodies in Kabul, Chechnya, Iraq,
and elsewhere. Muhammad Ibrahim Junuz al-Hajari, killed leader of a Saudi
Al-Qa’idah cell, was also on the list of B-H citizens.