The British suicide bomber who carried out a suicide truck bombing in Aleppo last Thursday has been identified as Abdul Waheed Majeed, a 41-year-old from Sussex.
It is believed to be the first suicide bombing by a Briton in Syria. The attack was allegedly part of an attempted jailbreak by members of the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar-al-Sham as the attack was carried out on a prison resulting in the in the escape of inmates. Although activists have reported that 300 escaped, the Syrian authorities deny this claim.
The extremist preacher Omar Bakri Muhammed claims that Majeed has been his driver and student. According to Bakri, Majeed had been an active student and valued member of the banned extremist al-Muhajiroun organisation between 1996 and 2004. Furthermore, Bakri claims that Majeed knew Jawad Akhbar and Omar Khyam who were convicted in 2007 of plotting an attack on the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and London’s Ministry of Sound nightclub. Majeed, a married father of three, went to Syria six months ago telling his family he was going to take part in an humanitarian mission.
As the civil war in Syria continues, the UK security services are becoming increasingly concerned by the growing involvement of young Britons. This week a third Briton, a 20-year-old student from Manchester with the nickname Abu Layth, was reportedly killed in Syria. Counter-terrorism police are currently searching his house. Abu Layth would be the third reported Briton who has died while fighting in the civil war.
U.K. / Northern Ireland
Military units are on heightened alert after suspected explosive devices were found in seven different military sites in the UK over the course of three days.
On Tuesday, ‘two basic but viable explosive devices’ were found in Chatham and Reading and on Wednesday a suspicious package was discovered at an army office in Aldershot. Furthermore, several armed forces recruitment offices across southeast England reported on Thursday to have found suspected explosive devices.
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the packages, they were stamped with a ‘Republic of Ireland’ postmark.
On Thursday night, a Number 10 spokesperson said in a statement: ‘Seven suspect packages have been identified as containing small, crude, but potentially viable devices bearing the hallmarks of Northern Ireland related terrorism. These have now been safely dealt with by the police and bomb disposal units.’
According to former COBRA chairman, Richard Kemp, ‘Irish dissidents have certainly done this sort of thing before and targeted recruiting offices. Producing a viable letter bomb would be within their capability. [Dissidents] have wanted to do something like this for a long time and so it wouldn’t surprise me if it was them.’
Political leaders in Northern Ireland condemned the attacks. Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt called it ‘the work of cowards’.
A Kenyan court has charged 70 people with being members of Somali militant group al-Shabaab. The 70 people were arrested during a police riot on a mosque, which resulted in days of rioting in Mombasa.
Although the 70 people deny being affiliated with al-Shabaab, the police claim to have found weapons and flags bearing the symbols of al-Shabaab during the raid.
The Kenyan government has vowed to break down the militant networks in an attempt to stop attacks mounted in retaliation against Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabaab.
Although al-Shabaab has been pushed out of most of the major cities within Somalia, it continue to carry out bombings throughout Somalia. On Thursday, a car bomb near the entrance of Mogadishu’s heavily-guarded international airport killed seven people. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack and said that they were targeting a United Nations Convoy.