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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thwarted plan to attack U.S. trainers in Philippines and plan to merge piracy and terrorism

Reported here, alleged terrorist plots that were prevented:
Al-Qaida-linked militants last year plotted to attack U.S. troops on southern Jolo island and hijack a cargo ship to force the release of jailed terror suspects, but the plans were discovered and foiled, the Philippine police chief said Thursday (July 5th).

National police chief Oscar Calderon said the attacks, jointly planned by Abu Sayyaf rebels and Indonesian militants belonging to the Jemaah Islamiyah, were among previously unreported terror plots that would be declassified in an annual accomplishment report.
The attack against U.S. troops involved in counterterrorism training and humanitarian projects on Jolo island was uncovered by intelligence agents in July last year, Calderon said.

Romeo Ricardo, the police intelligence chief at the time, said Filipino and Indonesian militants plotted to attack a Jolo military camp where the American troops were staying.
"We relayed the information to the Americans and the military so they could do target hardening," Ricardo said.

The militants never carried out the attack, apparently after sensing the tighter security, he said.
Calderon said two Indonesian terror suspects believed to be hiding with the Abu Sayyaf militants on Jolo, Dulmatin and Umar Patek, also plotted to hijack an unspecified cargo ship that would pass through the waters between southern Tawi Tawi province and neighboring Malaysia's Sabah state in Borneo.

The militants planned to take the ship's crewmen as hostages and demand the release of jailed terror suspects in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines for their freedom, he said.

"The terrorists plotted to force an exchange of prisoners," Calderon said, but he added the plot was never carried out after the police and military beefed up security.

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