Bin Laden eyes 9-11 anniversary for fresh attacks
By By Joe Baker, Senior Editor
In the midst of the U.S. governments exercises in crying wolf about terrorist attacks in this country that never happen, comes some intelligence from across the globe that gives pause for serious thought.
Our bunch of Bushonians in Washington have said little or nothing about it, but the details are chilling indeed.
Intelligence reports from spy agencies in Britain, the Mideast and southern Asia say there are strong indications that terrorists are planning spectacular attacks on American, British and Israeli targets on the anniversary of 9-11.
These agencies say they are picking up an increasing volume of messages among suspected al-Qaeda cells as Osama bin Ladens organization steps up efforts to bring off a major attack in the days around the WTC and Pentagon attacks anniversary.
Sources in Pakistan, according to the London Observer, say al-Qaeda members there have been given a three-month deadline to work with local hardline Islamist groups to target Western interests in that region.
British intelligence sources told the newspaper that the UK is third on al-Qaedas list of preferred targets, after the U.S. and Israel. The sources also confirmed reports of credible al-Qaeda attacks have grown.
A spokesman in Whitehall told the Observer: The threat remains high, and the background noise has been growing over recent weeks. Its a question of when, rather than if, they will attempt another spectacular.
Abu Zubaydah, a top al-Qaeda agent arrested in Pakistan last March, reportedly told American interrogators the terrorist group is planning a wide range of mass casualty attacks.
Bin Laden is thought to be hiding in the difficult mountainous terrain along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many of his followers are in Pakistan.
Last week four al-Qaeda fighters and three policemen died in a shootout near Kohat, on the border of the semi-autonomous tribal areas where 300 al-Qaeda guerrillas are hiding out.
Investigators in Karachi, who are investigating last months bombing of the U.S. consulate in that city, believe al-Qaeda operatives are working with local Islamic crime and terror groups to carry out these attacks.
This alert is the second such warning from intelligence services in the last seven months. The CIA and MI6 put out a warning at the end of last year after questioning of al-Qaeda suspects being held in Cuba disclosed the terrorist organization had regrouped and reorganized after the bombing of Afghanistan and planned attacks across the globe.
Intelligence sources in Morocco told the newspaper last month that they had learned from American agents and their British counterparts that al-Qaeda scouting squads had been sent from AFghanistan following the bombing of al-Qaedas headquarters in the Tora Bora region with detailed orders to hit Western and Jewish targets.
The Moroccans said as a result, they were able, last month, to thwart a spectacular assault designed to kill and disable British and American troops in the Strait of Gibraltar.
They did so by arresting a three-man cell of al-Qaeda agents composed of Saudi nationals. They said bin Ladens men have dispersed across the region and into the Middle East after the al-Qaeda structure in Afghanistan was smashed.