Al Qalah Web Site Provides Forum for Militants
Posted: July 8, 2005
A Web site that recently posted a claim of responsibility for the London mass transit bombings is regularly used by militant Islamic groups.
The Al Qalah Web site (Arabic for "The Castle" or "The Fortress") has been utilized primarily by Salafist groups in Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia, but also in Europe, to post propaganda messages in support of terrorism and to claim responsibility for terrorist attacks.
Al Qalah, registered to a fake name in Abu Dhabi in September 2001, shares registration information, such as e-mail and mailing addresses, with other terrorist-related sites registered under the name of Saad Rashed Mohammed Al-Fagih. Al-Fagih was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. in December 2004; he allegedly provided logistical support for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa.
The site enables registered users to read and post messages, including terrorist-related announcements. For example, a posting in 2004 by a person claiming to be Sheikh Hamed ben Abdallah al-Ali, a Kuwaiti Salafist religious leader, said that "the gang of Bush are enjoying the humiliation of Muslims" and called for jihadists to "terrorize the enemies of Islam." Another posting, in June 2005, said Abdallah al Rashood, a Saudi-based Al Qaeda leader, had been killed by U.S. bombs during fighting on the border between Iraq and Syria.
Claims of responsibility for attacks by Iraqi terrorist groups linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have been posted on the site as well. In May 2005, someone posted a list of 394 so-called Iraqi "shaheed" (martyrs) who had died fighting Coalition troops in Iraq. In 2004, a post appeared that was attributed to Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, the leader of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia at the time, urging jihadists to start attacks, assassinations, bombings and kidnappings in Saudi Arabian cities.
Al Qalah has also hosted claims for attacks that have later been proven false.