Two men – a 49-year-old U.S. national and a 48-year-old Canadian national -
are under arrest in Chicago on charges of preparing a terrorist attack
against the Jyllands-Posten newspaper and other targets in Denmark.
Jyllands-Posten was the newspaper which published cartoons of the Prophet
Those charged are reported to be David Coleman Headley, 49, and Tahawwur
Hussain Rana, 48. The Chicago Tribune says that Headley is an American
citizen who changed his name from Daood Gilani. Headley is charged with one
count of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts involving murder and maiming
outside the United States and another count of conspiracy to provide
material support to the conspiracy.
Rana, who is Canadian, is charged with one count of conspiracy to provide
material support to a foreign conspiracy involving Headley and three other
the FBI affidavit (external link)
“At the beginning of 2008, the two suspects had intense correspondence
about what they called the Mickey Mouse Project ‘mmp’ and ‘the northern
project,” the American authorities write.
According to the Department of Justice, the two were preparing one or several
attacks against Jyllands-Posten buildings and employees.
The Danish Intelligence and Security Service (PET) says that the two men were
arrested in Chicago on October 3rd and 18th. The Chicago Tribune says that
Headley was detained at the O’Hare International Airport on October 3rd and
has allegedly admitted to receiving training from Lashkar-e-Taiba and is
reported to have acknowledged that the plan called for either an attack on
Jyllands-Postens building or the killing of the newspaper’s cultural editor
and the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
Rana, who runs several companies including a meat-processing plant
specialising in Islamic foods, was arrested at his home on October 18.
“The Service sees this case as being very serious. One of those arrested has
an extensive network among leading militant extremists in Pakistan who not
only want to attack Denmark but have also shown previously that they are
capable of ruthless terrorist attacks,” PET Chief Jakob Scharf says in a
According to PET, one of those arrested has been to Denmark twice this
year to reconnoitre and select targets. In July this year, he was in
Copenhagen taking video footage in the capital.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in the case, Headley reported to Ilyas
Kashmiri, an operational chief in a Pakistani-based organization known as
Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, which has links to al-Qaida.
Those arrested are said by PET to have been in close contact with the
Lashkar-e-Taiba, al-Qaeda and Harakat-ul-Jihad Islami terrorist
organisations in connection with planning for the attack.
“The (two men) arrested have been closely monitored by the American
authorities. Similarly, PET has undertaken extensive investigations. PET and
the FBI feel that the arrests and discovery of the terrorist plans have
reduced the risk of the attack. PET and the American authorities however are
continuing their intensive investigations to counter the threat,” Scharf