Mega-Terror Menaces on Three Continents
With the approach of American military action against Iraq, the United States and its war allies, including Israel, have gone on top alert to steel themselves against a multi-pronged mega-terror offensive assault.
According to debkafile and DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s exclusive counter-terror and intelligence sources, six entities have come together to prepare this offensive, operating both together and independently. They are:
1. Iraqi military intelligence, or rather the dread Unit 999, which is an arm of the super-secret Fedayeen Saddam (Saddam’s Martyrs), commanded by the Iraqi ruler’s eldest son, Uday.
2. Al Qaeda’s top men.
3. Iraqi and Al Qaeda sleeper cells planted in the United States, Europe, the Persian Gulf and Israel.
4. Palestinian terrorists operating on West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian terror groups and militias based in Damascus.
5. Hizballah security and intelligence bodies working in harness with al Qaeda.
6. Hizballah leaders and high officers under instructions from Tehran to open a second anti-American front from Lebanon or elsewhere in the Middle East, in support of Iraq.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly and debkafile‘s intelligence and counter-terror sources reveal exclusively that the al Qaeda cells rolled up in the last three weeks in the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany – some plotting chemical attacks, some actually caught with the poisonous ricin in their possession – started their journeys to target in two places: Chechnya and Algeria.
Those same sources report too that interrogation of the dozens of terrorist suspects in custody revealed that Iraq and Saudi intelligence agents continue to provide the terror cells with operational intelligence, while Saudi institutions and bodies are al Qaeda’s primary source of funds and manpower.
The “smoking gun'” link between Iraq and al Qaeda is readily available to Secretary of State Colin Powell for use in his presentation before the UN Security Council on Wednesday, February 5. However, Washington is not yet prepared to expose Saudi complicity in the terror conspiracy, and for that reason is likely to withhold the key role played by Baghdad as well. The al Qaeda detainees in Europe also laid bare the Albanian mafia’s role in providing weapons, forged travel documents and passports, transport and hideouts for terrorists before and after their hits. The Albanian underworld, based in Macedonia, Bosnia and Kosovo, is well placed for this operation, having spread its tentacles across the European continent.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror experts have mapped the routes taken by the terrorist cells from Chechnya and Algeria across Europe.
mg class=”picture” src=”/dynmedia/pictures/IconEurope.jpg” align=”left” border=”0″> To full-size version of the map click HERE.
The consensus of our experts is that the terror cells picked up in Europe before they went into action constituted the first wave of a multi-pronged offensive which Baghdad and al Qaeda planned to unfold in stages with the approach and onset of American military action against Iraq.
Wave One was to have struck European capitals and major cities with chemical toxins, such as ricin, and assassinations of prominent political and military figures. The 28-man Pakistani al Qaeda group captured last week in northern Italy plotted the murder of the British chief of staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, during a visit he paid to NATO’s Naples Headquarters.
Wave Two is destined for Israel. Al Qaeda cells assigned to carry out mega-attacks are already present, planted in Palestinian-controlled territory or secreted into Israeli towns from abroad.
Wave Three in the Persian Gulf is scheduled to come next and consist of attacks against US forces in the region and large-scale targets like aircraft carriers, warships and oil tankers.
Wave Four will aim for American cities and strategic installations and send hit teams against leading political, military, social and religious personalities.
Western governments may strive to present the global war on terror and the campaign against Iraq as not being a declaration of war on the Islamic world, but these efforts are not believed and only incense the terror movement. The coming American military action against Iraq is perceived by the Arab world and many Muslims as an assault on the Islamic nation.
As DEBKA-Net-Weekly 94 reported on January 24, radical Arab Muslims are explaining that America’s objectives in Iraq are to seize Arab land and its natural resources, oil. Young Gulf Muslims are being told that, whereas in Afghanistan, Bin Laden led a global jihad, in Iraq and Arabia, his followers are fighting for their sacred homelands and their violation by infidels. Today the Americans will conquer Iraq’s cities and oil fields; tomorrow, it is said, they will use Iraq as a jumping-off base to capture Saudi Arabia and its oil riches.
Al Qaeda’s spokesmen are going beyond general calls for action against the enemy. They have announced a serious escalation of tactics. They are telling partisans explicitly that American troops and civilians must be fought with nuclear weapons. In some Internet sites associated with the group, such slogans as “the way to kill Americans is by nuclear attack,” appear of late. Another favorite is: “There are no Western civilians. Every Westerner is a combatant whom we are enjoined to kill.”
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror experts estimate that Al Qaeda is striving to prepare the ground for the mass murder of American and Western civilians by unconventional means of warfare.
The network’s sites abound with detailed instructions on how to prepare chemical agents and dangerous toxins for harming American troops. They also offer detailed information on security procedures at American Gulf military installations and ways to overcome them for the kidnapping of US troops as hostages. Our experts suggest that their harping on the nuclear option is a strong indication that the fundamentalists possess some sort of nuclear weapon.
Our monitors have picked up another alarming development on the al Qaeda Internet scene. While the chatter continues unabated, operational signals among activist cells in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have dried up. This organized blackout of electronic communications on open channels appears to portend some operation.
There are a number of possibilities:
1. A nuclear/mega attack on an American Gulf installation, such as bases in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, or even Saudi Arabia.
2. A multi-location mega/nuclear strike against a number of bases, oil fields, terminals or tankers.
3. A mega/nuclear attack against an Arab capital assisting in American war preparations, such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar or Oman, where heightened al Qaeda activity has been registered in the last weeks.
4. A mega/nuclear attack against one of Israel’s main cities. Israel is deep in preparations to meet such an attack, often disguised as measures to confront an Iraqi assault. Last month, Israel’s government hospitals signed contracts with a number of big hotel chains, especially along the Mediterranean coastline, for the lease of whole wings for conversion into hospital facilities in case of a terrorist attack of disastrous proportions. Large firms who rely on exports, like Intel, have been shipping inventories out of the country. Essential government offices, banks and large commercial firms have moved staffs and equipment to nuclear bomb shelters and especially built bomb-proof building complexes outside Tel Aviv and Haifa.
This menace was behind the warning issued Monday, February 3, by Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, the senior officer in charge of war information, when he said: “Israel must be ready for dangerous events of a one-time nature.” He added that Saddam Hussein, who already has bio-weapon capability, will do its utmost to procure nuclear weapons – and is not like to be put off this objective. Since the American attack is no more than weeks away, Iraq may be presumed to already have a nuclear option of some kind.
5. A mega/nuclear attack in London, which the British premier Tony Blair declared as a definite possibility in Parliament last month.
6. A mega/nuclear strike in a major American city.
All six might take the form of biological or chemical attack.