'Jihadist James Bond' jailed in London

Al-Qaida inspired computer expert sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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July 5, 2007 18:15
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An al-Qaida inspired computer expert who dubbed himself "the jihadist James Bond" was imprisoned for 10 years Thursday for running a network of extremist Web sites and hoarding videos of the murders of Americans Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl. Morocco-born Younis Tsouli, 23, who prosecutors said had uploaded guides to building suicide vests on to the Internet, used the online ID "irhabi007" - the Arabic word for terrorist and the code name of the fictional British spy. With accomplices Tariq Al-Daour and Waseem Mughal, Tsouli offered advice and motivation to would-be terrorists on a myriad of Web pages run from their London homes, prosecutors said. Videos seized from the group gave advice on suicide belts, causing explosions, using rocket-propelled grenades, producing poisons and blowing up gas pipelines, prosecutors told jurors. Images of Washington, D.C., were found on Tsouli's computer hard drive, stored alongside details of how to make car bombs, prosecutors said. US law enforcement officials have said the Capitol building was featured in short video clips, but that they were skeptical that an attack was being planned. Judge Charles Openshaw said the case had brought the first terrorism convictions in Britain based purely on evidence about use of the Internet. Ordering Tsouli to be deported to Morocco at the end of his jail term, Openshaw said he was a danger, even though "he came no closer to a bomb or a firearm than a computer keyboard." Forums on Web pages maintained by the group included references to the Sept. 11 attacks and the London transit attacks nearly two years ago by four suicide bombers. "From the moment the infidels cry, I laugh," said one post referring to the London attacks, which killed 52 commuters. "Each of these three young men firmly believed and supported and set about inciting others to follow an extreme ideology of violent holy war against so-called disbelievers," prosecutor Mark Ellison said. "The enemies comprise anyone who does not believe in the extreme ideology. It's the ideology of, most notoriously, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida." Al-Daour, 21, was jailed for 6½ years and Waseem Mughal for 7½ years. All three men had pleaded guilty to inciting others to commit acts of terrorism. Tsouli had referred to receiving orders from al-Qaida leaders in an online exchange with Mughal, claiming "AQ" had asked him to translate a book into English, Ellison said. Prosecutors said the book "Thurwat Al Sanam," which they claimed translates to "Tip of the Camel's Hump," exhorts Muslims to commit violent acts against nonbelievers. Following searches of the group's computers, storage drives and DVDs, police said that they had found extremist material which - if printed out and piled up - would stand thousands of meters (feet) high. The three were arrested in 2005 as part of a Europe-wide operation to break up an alleged terror cell, which prosecutors claimed was planning an attack in Europe. Arrests were made in Bosnia, Denmark and Britain over the plot. United Arab Emirates-born Al-Daour, Tsouli and British-born Mughal, 24, of Chatham, a town in southeastern England, had also admitted charges of attempting to defraud banks and credit card companies.

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