A New Manual Promotes Cell Members’ Security

A new manual released this week by al Qaeda should be an eye-opener for those who still maintain that al Qaeda is a loose organization of autonomous groups with a decentralized leadership.


Entitled “Guide to the Security of Mujeheddin in West Europe,” and published by al Qaeda’s official publishing house, Jihad Brigades – Educational, the book has 34 chapters crammed with technical charts, graphs and photographs of sites and buildings in various European cities.


DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s counter-terror sources report that the volume, advising agents on safety precautions, is as professionally produced as any comparable work by a Western military or clandestine agency.


Some excerpts appear on al Qaida Web sites used by operational networks. The editors explain in a prologue that the manual was released in response to a secret document put out by the European Union, which offered instructions for exposing and dealing with Islamic charities which raising funds for al Qaeda’s terrorist activities in West Europe.


The writers welcome the EU document as having taught them how “the European enemy” perceives the mujahiddin which was useful for designing their own directives.


Our sources describe the most important injunctions contained in the manual for arming al Qaeda cell members on the move in European countries. They are advised –



  1. How to overcome police and other roadblocks thrown up without warning on Europe’s motorways. This chapter offers a bag of tricks for moving across national borders without arousing suspicion.
  2. How to keep certain items concealed while traveling. Guns and explosives can be hidden inside the walls or under the seats of vehicles. Advice is also offered for the concealment of large sums of cash from security and customs officers at European airfields.
  3. How to locate premises suitable for al Qaeda cells or Islamic fund-raising organizations. Detailed recommendations are offered as to which neighborhoods are most desirable for rental offices, which floors are safest and how to minimize the risk of electronic surveillance and planted bugs.
  4. How to secure al Qaeda premises against break-ins by security or intelligence forces on their trail. These European-based cells are advised to hire local security firms through local businessmen who are unlikely to suspect their clients are members of al Qaeda. The volume deals at length with techniques for making contact with such firms and the specific tasks assigned them.
  5. DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror sources report that never before has any al Qaeda publication admitted to resorting to private security or confidential services in the West.
  6. How to move a large number of jihadi personnel in convoy through a big city or between cities without arousing the curiosity of security services. This section offers a variety of methods for the vehicles in the convoy to maintain eye or electronic contact with each another.
  7. How to travel safely inside Europe by domestic airline, boat and national highway.
  8. How a traveler carrying a forged passport, identity paper or driving license should behave. When asked for ID, the rule is to show just one document to cut down the risk of discovery.
  9. Defensive driving rules should be observed to avoid contact with the police; special tactics are outlined for shaking off police shadows.
  10. How to hold military training exercises unobserved in European towns. Two whole chapters are devoted to this subject including ways of programming wireless and other communication gear to defeat eavesdropping, using them for coded messages and detail instructions on methods for securing training locations.
  11. Every cell and fundraising organization is obliged to maintain an emergency communications network in case a cell is compelled to break up and scatter or is blown by a local security agency.
  12. This section includes a detailed rundown of the measures, instruments and tactics cell members must hold ready, such as phone cards and brand new mobile phones whose numbers are unrecorded by any counter-intelligence agency. These cell phones can only be used for three calls before being junked in rivers or canals.
  13. Three final chapters tell cell members how to deal with a fire at their places of operation, which materials to salvage and which to destroy in the flames, how to secure the network’s computers, PCs and laptops, and special chapter on personal hygiene.
    Al Qaeda instructs members deployed in Western Europe to maintain high standards of personal and domestic cleanliness, as part of their cover so as to blend into the environment in which they are planted.

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