Islamic terrorist training camp uncovered in Marion, Alabama
A training camp linked to Islamic militants has been operating in Alabama, and European law enforcement officials believe Muslim extremists were using it to prepare for a holy war.
British authorities also thought that militants from overseas were training in the United States to take advantage of America's gun laws, sources told ABC NEWS. The looming question for law enforcement is whether there is a connection between the camp and the al Qaeda terror network.
An investigation by Britain's Scotland Yard led to the discovery of the camp in Marion, Ala. The facility is called "Ground Zero USA."
Bullet-riddled police cars and a school bus with mannequin targets are scattered around the property. Inside a huge shed is an equally macabre scene — shot-up mannequins, male and female, in domestic settings, some with red, blood-like stains on them.
Ground Zero's operators promised state-of-the-art, world-class training in automatic weapons, urban warfare, SWAT tactics and martial arts, supposedly to fight terror attacks.
Marion Police Chief Tony Buford said he became suspicious of the use of police cars and buses as targets.
"It was rumored that the camp here was used as training site for possible people that were sent here to do bodily harm to Americans," Buford told ABC NEWS.
The suspected terror ties of the Alabama camp were unknown until after Sept. 11, when officials in London arrested an accused al Qaeda supporter, Zain-ul-Albidin
He is charged with operation of a Web site, under the name of Sakina Security, allegedly recruiting Muslims for an Islamic jihad or holy war. He is now on trial in London.
The site, since taken down by British authorities, described what seemed to be the Alabama camp, including live-fire exercises at a state-of-the-art shooting range in the United States — something that would not be legal in Britain.
...It is surprising local authorities did not notice a terrorist training site until the Brits asked about it. The story does not indicate that any of those who participated in the training were arrested which seems a little strange. The FBI is now investigating other terrorist training camps around the US. Marion is a small town in West Central Alabama, with a majority black population.