|Today heard on FOX news, that a Hiroshima type event planned for Britian supported by Iran and the usual suspects--I was shocked when I heard it on a major TV network--was it based on a British paper -Sunday Times?? Now I read this--
Ian MacLeod, CanWest News Service
Published: Monday, April 23, 2007 Article tools
Font: * * * * Al-Qaida leaders in Iraq are planning a mass-casualty attack against British and other western targets, possibly with radioactive-dispersal weapons, according to a secret British security intelligence assessment.
The warning is one of two reported since Friday from British and European counter-terrorism officials that a reinvigorated al-Qaida is mustering fresh resources for a major strike against the West.
"They have got to do something soon that is radical otherwise they start losing credibility," a British security source told London's Sunday Times. The newspaper reported Sunday that al-Qaida leaders in Iraq are planning "large-scale" terrorist attacks on Britain and other western targets with the help of supporters in Iran. The other western nations were not named.
The information, from a leaked report by Britain's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre - the country's premier organization for assessing international and domestic terrorist threats - appears to provide evidence that al-Qaida is active in Iran and has ambitions far beyond the improvised attacks it has been waging against British and American soldiers in Iraq, the newspaper said.
Produced earlier this month, the intelligence assessment quotes one al-Qaida leader in Iraq saying he was planning an attack on "a par with Hiroshima and Nagasaki" in an attempt to "shake the Roman throne," a reference to the West.
Analysts believe the reference to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where more than 200,000 people died in nuclear attacks on Japan at the end of the Second World War, is unlikely to be a literal boast, the newspaper said. Despite aspiring to a nuclear capability, al-Qaida is not thought to have acquired weapons-grade material.
However, several plots involving "dirty bombs" - conventional explosive devices surrounded by radioactive material - have been foiled. What's more, an al-Qaida leader in Iraq last year called on nuclear scientists to apply their knowledge of biological and radiological weapons to "the field of jihad."
"It could be just a reference to a huge explosion," a counter-terrorist source, referring to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki claims, told the newspaper.
The assessment says al-Qaida would "ideally" like to carry out an attack before Prime Minister Tony Blair Blair steps down this summer.
It also makes it clear that senior al-Qaida figures in the Iraq region have been in recent contact with operatives in Britain. But it says there is "no indication" an attack would specifically target Britain, "although we are aware that AQI (al-Qaida in Iraq) ... networks are active in the Britain."
Details from the assessment follow a Friday report in London's Financial Times quoting unnamed European officials and terrorism specialists saying al-Qaida is reaching out from its base in Pakistan to turn militant Islamist groups in the Middle East and Africa into franchises charged with intensifying attacks on western targets. The efforts could see radical Islamist groups use al-Qaida expertise to switch their attention from local targets to western interests in their countries and abroad.