UK CT & COIN Features – 8 May 2008

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A round-up of today’s newspaper articles covering the UK’s involvement in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations at home and abroad.

Islamic preacher Qatada is bailed
BBC

Islamic preacher Abu Qatada has been granted bail with a 22-hour curfew by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, the Home Office has said.

Qatada last month won an appeal against deportation but remained in prison.

The Home Office, which is appealing against the decision to block the deportation to Jordan, will seek strict conditions on Qatada once freed.

Qatada, a Palestinian-Jordanian, was convicted in his absence in Jordan of terrorist offences in the 1990s.

Abu Qatada (BBC)

Also:

Islamic preacher Abu Qatada is bailedThe Telegraph

Car bomber brother back in India
BBC

The brother of a man who died in a suicide car bomb attack on Glasgow Airport has been deported to India.

Sabeel Ahmed, 26, of Bangalore, India, pleaded guilty at London’s Old Bailey last month to withholding information about the attack.

The doctor was given an 18-month sentence, but was freed for deportation because of time served on remand.

He admitted not disclosing to police an e-mail which his brother wrote about plans for the attack.

Sabeel Ahmed had opened the e-mail, in which his brother asked him to keep the information secret for as long as possible, after the incident had taken place.

BBC

Basra base attack kills civilians
BBC

Two civilians have been killed and a British serviceman suffered minor injuries in a rocket attack on the UK’s Basra Airport base in Iraq.

Iraqi police say up to 20 rockets were launched at the base at about 1415 local time (1215 BST).

Iraqi and British army units responded by sealing off part of the Zubair district of the city, from where the katyusha rockets had been fired.

The injured serviceman is believed to be classed as “walking wounded”.

Also:

British soldier injured in Iraq attackThe Telegraph

U.S., British Reaper operations combined in Afghanistan
Tech. Sgt. James Law, Air Force Link

Since taking flight for the first time here in October 2007, Reapers have flown more than 320 missions and 2,400 combat hours throughout Afghanistan, providing close-air support and precision engagement.

The unit contributing to this effort is the 42nd Expeditionary Attack Squadron, a combined unit with Reapers from the U.S. and the British Royal Air Forces.

“It’s awesome working with the ‘Brits,'” said Maj. John Myers, the 42nd EATKS commander. “We work well together.

“We have split crews. We have a British pilot and an American sensor operator and another crew is an American pilot and a British sensor operator,” said Major Myers. “We are truly integrated, even down to the crew level.”

Air Force Link

Four accused of supporting banned terror group
PA / The Telegraph

Four men have been charged with conspiring to support the banned terrorist Tamil Tigers organisation.

Scotland Yard said the men are accused of possessing equipment including radios, computers and high-power magnets for terrorism.

All four men, who were arrested at addresses in London and Wales, will appear today at City of Westminster magistrates’ court.

All four men face a single charge of conspiring to receive equipment for terrorist purposes between January 2003 and December 2006.

Among the items listed in the charge were Toughnote laptops, head torches, printed circuit boards and lithium coin cell batteries.

They are also accused of possessing other electrical equipment, GPS and antenna equipment, transceivers, radios, navigation systems and high power magnets.

Also:

Men charged over ‘Tigers’ supportBBC

Police ‘being used to push 42-day detention’
James Kirkup, The Telegraph

Gordon Brown vowed to press ahead yesterday with plans to detain terror suspects without trial for 42 days, warning Tory MPs and Labour rebels that the public would not forgive politicians who blocked the measures.

The Prime Minister defended his plans after ministers were accused of trying to involve the police in party politics by asking a senior officer to lobby MPs in favour of the changes. Bob Quick, Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner in charge of counter-terrorism, has “agreed” to a request from the Home Office to meet MPs to discuss the detention limit.

Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and dozens of Labour MPs are opposed to the 42-day plan, raising the prospect of a Commons defeat for the Prime Minister next month.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: “It is entirely inappropriate that a serving officer should be asked to make the Government’s case, particularly when it doesn’t reflect the common view of chief constables.”

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