US federal agencies Saturday, Aug. 7, announced the hunt was on again for Adnan Al Shukrijumah, 35, who lived in the US for 15 years and may now be Al Qaeda's mew global operations chief.
debkafile's counter terror sources confirm the wanted man is indeed dangerous – but not because of his climb up the al Qaeda ladder but owing to the unique task first assigned him seven years ago to carry out a radiological bombing attack in America.
This task was first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 132, the Nov. 17, 2003, whose sources reported that already then, in October of that year, Shukriumah was the quarry of a secret manhunt in the US and Canada. He was employed at the time as a nuclear engineering student at MacMaster University's nuclear 5-megawatt research reactor in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada before suddenly disappearing.
His absence was noted when a large quantity of radioactive material was missed from the university's reactor. It was suspected then that Osama bin Laden had entrusted the "student" with preparing a "dirty bomb" attack in a North American city.
Shukrijumah has never been traced since.
Born in Saudi Arabia, Shukrijumah was brought to the United States as a young child by his father, an imam, and mother and lived inNew York and Florida for 15 years.
In its original report of 2003, DEBKA-Net-Weekly disclosed:
American authorities first heard about Al ShukriJumah’s terror mission on al Qaeda’s behalf from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the senior operative of the fundamentalist network captured at his home in Karachi one night in March.
Sheikh Mohammed described the wanted man as a one-man cell trained to build from scratch radiological bombs capable of environmental contamination. From Sheikh Mohammed, US counter-terror agencies learned for the first time about the single-cell al Qaeda chemical, biological and nuclear strike-teams consisting of lone operatives trained to operate solo.
The experts had previously assumed that each unconventional weapons cell numbered several members and was supported by broad logistical backup crews [like the network which carried out the 9/11 attacks].
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His disclosures were therefore an eye-opener in more ways than one.
Today, debkafile's counter-terror sources are skeptical about the wanted man's new job description as al Qaeda's head of global operational planning. It is far more likely, they say, that the organization would rather take advantage of his familiarity with the American scene for grooming Muslims who are US citizens for attacks inside the United States.
That was the impression gained by the Detroit taxi driver Najibullah Zazi, one of three men accused of plotting suicide bomb attacks on New York's subway last year. According to his account, Shukrijumah was key liaison officer at their training camp in Pakistan.
Our experts would not be surprised to hear that Shukrijumah was as keen on getting updated on the changes occurring in America during his seven-year absence as he was to teach the new recruits the arts of terror.
Al Qaeda is wont to stick with a long-term plan until it is carried out – or is aborted. Their designated expert in unconventional terror may be in the process of adjusting his operation for a dirty bomb or other unconventional strike in America according to the circumstances prevailing today..