Al Qaeda prepares bio-terror for US and Israel

DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘sintelligence sources report mounting fears within US and Israeli counter-terrorism agencies that al Qaeda’s three command centers are preparing mega-terror attacks for US and Israeli targets.(To subscribe to DNW click HERE).
They believe that, for the time being, al Qaeda has foregone a nuclear, radiological or chemical option in favor of biological warfare, because of the weapons systems believed to have been made available by Iraqi military intelligence and already in the hands of three al Qaeda commanders:Abu Musaab al Zarqawi, Abdullah Ahmed AbdullahandKhalid Sheikh Mohammed,nicknamed“the Mukhtar”.
Baghdad believes that a biological attack on Israel will act as an appropriate reprisal for the threatening US offensive and a possible deterrent.
To be ready in case Iraq launches its F-1 or L-29 warplanes, or Polish-made drones – all armed with spray canisters loaded with toxic chemicals or germs – over Eilat or Aqaba, the Americans have in the past week been shipping to southern Israel improved, re-engineered PAC-3 anti-missile batteries together with thousands of US Marines.
However, in the view of our intelligence and military sources, the more immediate danger to Israel comes not directly from Iraq but from al Qaeda and its biological weapons arsenal.
They say the Islamic fundamentalist group has established a headquarters at Bayara in the radical Kurdish Ansar al-Islam enclave of northern Iraq, as one of its three main planning centers.
All Zarqawi, whose full name is Ahmad Fadeel Nazal Abu Mussab al Zarqawi, aka al Khalayleh, is the senior bio-project director.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘scounter-terrorism sources report that in November and December, al Zarqawi was spotted commuting between Baghdad, Bayara, Damascus and Beirut, giving the Bush administration its first direct proof of the Baghdad-al Qaeda terrorist link. It prompted the US President to remark on Tuesday, December 31, that “an attack from Saddam Hussein or a surrogate of Saddam Hussein would cripple our economy.”
Zarqawi’s senior officer, Abdullah is based in Pakistan – either in the port city of Karachi or near the border with Afghanistan, while the whereabouts of Mohammed, “the Mukhtar” are unknown. He may be in Bosnia or Europe.
Of the three, Zarqawi is the ticking bomb waiting to go off.
A Jordanian-Palestinian in his late 30s, he fled the kingdom in 1999 after he was caught plotting to blow up hotels hosting foreign millennium celebrants. He is the only al Qaeda operative known for certain to have undergone extensive terrorist training – including airline hijacking techniques — in Iraq’s notorious Salman Pak special weapons facility.
Back in October 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks in the United States, DEBKA-Net-Weeklyreported that Bayara became an al Qaeda base complete with chemical and biological training laboratories run for the group by the Iraqis.
Our counter-terrorism sources reveal that Zarqawi was also in charge of the relocation of 150 to 200 al Qaeda fugitives from Afghanistan to South Lebanon. The group destined for Lebanon was consisted of hardcore terrorists trained in chemical and biological warfare.
Zarqawi has dropped out of sight lately, raising the suspicion that one of his mega-terror attacks may be imminent.
Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah is believed to be the highest ranking of the trio of al Qaeda commanders. Aged about 40, he is an Egyptian and member of the radical Egyptian Islamic Jihad, who since 1991 has been al Qaeda’s chief money man, while also active in shoring up the group’s worldwide logistical network and organizing operations. A year ago, after the US forced the main body of al Qaeda and Taliban out of Afghanistan, Abdullah took over as overall al Qaeda commander in Pakistan and Kashmir. Many intelligence sources claim that today, Abdullah is the top man in al Qaeda, but there is no proof of this.
Our counter-terrorism sources have unearthed two little-known facts about this mysterious and powerful figure:
First, he lives under the full protection of Pakistan’s military leaders and intelligence – the most senior al Qaeda operative to enjoy this status. Second, Abdullah was the mastermind behind the November 28 strikes against Israeli targets in Mombasa, Kenya, in which 16 people died, although the terrorist team on the spot failed to shoot down an Israel airliner with 270 people aboard.
This top al Qaeda commander has CIA and FBI officers in Pakistan chewing their nails in frustration. They usually know where he is and where he goes, but they cannot touch him because of the protective umbrella the Pakistani SIS extends him on orders from President Pervez Musharraf. This week, a Pakistani unit exchanged fire with US troops who apparently got too close to areas Pakistani military intelligence designated as off-limits. There were rumors at the time that Abdullah was in the neighborhood of the incident. The United States responded with a B-52 bombing run against the Pakistani contingent.
Our counter-terrorism sources can also disclose that, while an al Qaeda operative called Mohammed Fazul led the operation against the Israeli-owned Mombasa Palace Hotel and an Arkia airliner, Abdullah was the operation’s planner and supreme commander. He picked the terrorist team, decided how best to smuggle the Strela shoulder-launched missiles into Kenya and who would fire them at Mombasa airport,
Intercepts of messages between Abdullah and Zarqawi indicate it will be the latter is setting up the next big al Qaeda attack in the Middle East – mostly likely in Israel, Abdullah is putting together a large-scale strike inside the United States.
Al Qaeda’s third command center, known as the European HQ, is headed by Mohammed, or “The Mukhtar”, who is not authorized to plan or carry out attacks without approval from above – but his field of operation is major, covering such key European cities as London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Prague and Moscow.
Bush has good cause to be deeply concerned over al Qaeda’s potential for biological attacks. Two of the group’s most prominent leaders, Zarqawi and Abdullah, enjoy the protection and help of the formidable military intelligence arms of Iraq and Pakistan, the latter ostensibly a US ally but working behind the scenes against Washington’s global war against terrorism.
The US president has another worry: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan could end up aligning themselves with Saddam Hussein, should he succeed in persuading al Qaeda to dispatch its fighters to Iraq and locate the group’s command centers on its soil.

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