Headley is FBI's Second Biggest Catch of 2009

Washington, Dec 29 (IANS) The arrest of Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, a key suspect in the Mumbai terror assault that left 166 people dead, is the FBI's second biggest catch this year, says the American agency on its official website.

Headley figures at No.2 in a list of some of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) "most significant cases in terms of their impact on the overall security".

"The threat posed by extremists is real and it continues to morph and evolve in new and dangerous ways. We had our hands full during the year, from heading off potential plots on US soil to identifying Americans being recruited to wage jihad overseas," the FBI said.

Fortynine-year-old Headley, arrested in October, has been charged of "conspiracy to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim persons in India and Denmark, to provide material support to foreign terrorist plots, and to provide material support to Lashkar, and aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India (in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks)".

According to the FBI charges, Headley changed his name from Daood Gilani in February 2006 to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani. He is alleged to have attended Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) training camps in Pakistan in February and August 2002 and in December 2003.

Born and educated in Pakistan and later settled in Philadelphia, Headley is said to have made five "extended" trips to Mumbai between September 2006 and July 2008.

He took pictures and made videotapes of various targets, including those attacked in November 2008, the FBI said. Headley was caught while he was about to board a flight from Philadelphia to Pakistan.

The top terror case cracked by the FBI was the arrest of two young jihadists in Georgia who were allegedly plotting attacks in the US.

"Ehsanul Islam Sadequee and Syed Haris Ahmed are young Americans with terror on their minds. The two middle-class kids barely out of high school who lived seemingly normal lives in and around Atlanta while secretly taking up the mantle of violent jihad. In the span of a year, they went from being extremist wannabes to trusted brothers of terrorist operatives across the globe," the FBI said.

Both have been sentenced this month and headed to prison.

"Their story is indicative of both the evolving homegrown extremist threat and the FBI's post 9/11 intelligence-driven investigations."

At No.3 is a terrorism-related case against eight men accused of recruiting at least 20 young Somali Americans from Minnesota to join an extremist Islamist insurgency in Somalia. The suspects make up one of the largest alleged terror networks in the US since 9/11, the agency said.




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