Al Qaeda has put between three and four teams of suicide attackers in place for large-scale multiple attacks on or around July 8-9, the dates of the G8 summit taking place in the Italian town of l'Aquila. If they fail to beat the extra security laid on for the conference – and escape capture – they will try again as soon as they can after the event, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's counter-terror sources report.
Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short his attendance at the G8 summit and returned home after receiving an intelligence briefing Tuesday in Pisa. Our sources report that his informants, US agencies and the German BND secret service, indicated that the ethnic riots raging this week in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, home to the Uigur minority, were part of a comprehensive a Qaeda plot to coordinate massive attacks in the Middle East, the Far East and Europe on or around the time of the summit of industrialized nations in Italy.
“Given the worsening of the disorder in Xinjiang, President Hu Jintao has decided to move forward his return to China and not participate in the G8 summit,” Tang Heng, first political counselor at the Chinese embassy in Rome, was quoted as saying.
Hu didn't even stop over in Rome but took off from Pisa directly to Beijing.
The intelligence he received included the following information:
The latest al Qaeda master plan was configured to mirror the London transport attacks of July 7, 2005 which left 52 dead and more than 500 injured and which coincided with the opening of another G8 summit at Gleneagles Castle in Scotland. A national commemoration ceremony marked the fourth anniversary of 7/7 in London this week.
Jihads plan to repeat 7/7 and Mumbai 2008
The jihadis' tactics for their 2009 operation are designed on the lines of the Mumbai outrage of November 2008, when small groups of 3-4 men rampaged through the Indian city killing 172 and injuring nearly 300.
The suicide teams posted in Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Turkey and Egypt in early July, were trained in Pakistan and Algeria to hijack aircraft and blow them up in flight as well as attacking public facilities like airports, railway stations, high-rise buildings, five-star hotels, banks, multinational corporations and energy firms.
In 2005, al Qaeda was able to pull off its atrocity in London because British anti-terror and intelligence agencies focused their security resources on protecting the G8 leaders meeting in Scotland, leaving the capital exposed to the suicide killers.
When they struck, President George W. Bush and British premier Tony Blair conferred and decided the G8 leaders should stay in the castle and not try to leave for home, since the airports in northern England where their aircraft were waiting had been classified danger zones.
Bush took over the summit chair, while Blair shuttled back and forth between Gleneagles and London to supervise the rescue operation after the terrorist attacks.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly counter-terror sources report from Rome that Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was warned Sunday, July 5, that he may find himself in the same position in l'Aquila as Blair did four years ago in Scotland.
If thwarted by effective security at the Italian venue, our sources report al Qaeda planners have armed their suicide teams with alternative directives for blowing up passenger planes operated by the national airlines of the targeted countries. They will aim first at flights bound for the United States and Israel from European airports.
According to our sources, a specific tip-off Saturday, July 4 triggered an alert for the potential hijacking of Turkish Airways planes plying routes from Turkey to US towns and Ben-Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv.
This alert was still in effect when this issue closed.
Counter-terror budget cutbacks invite more terror
Although they themselves meet under the knife of a terror threat, it is doubtful that the seven world leaders will devote much time to assessing the impact of the global economic recession on counter-terror funding.
Anti-terror programs are under the axe although heightened Islamist terrorist activity calls for expanded budgets.
This was made painfully clear in a statement from John Yates, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard's head of counter terrorism, who wrote on July 7 that British anti-terrorist police face budget cuts for the first time since the 2005 attacks.
He allowed that having to make savings was “inevitable” despite the risks associated with staging the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Mr Yates, who assumed the post of Scotland Yard's head of specialist operations three months ago, said there had been a significant growth in funding to combat the extremist threat since 2005. But, he added it would be “naive” to think counter-terrorism policing would escape the recession:
“For the first time in counter terrorism we are going to have to robustly look at where we can make savings,” he said.
The tendency toward savings and cutbacks in counter-terror budgets in Britain, one of al Qaeda's primary world targets, has not been lost on planners of terrorist operations, who can be expected to ramp up their attacks.