According to senior U.S. intelligence official, there is a "sudden rise in intelligence which strongly indicates that al-Qaeda has renewed plans to gain access to nuclear material that could form a primitive nuclear device, one perhaps that a suicide truck bomber could use."
"Al-Qaeda Increases Efforts to Develop 'Dirty bomb,'" by Gordon Thomas London for Epoch Times, November 22:
MI6 has issued a global priority warning to all security services that Islamic terrorists are now closer to obtaining material to create a “dirty bomb” to launch against Western targets.
Osama bin Laden has long made this a priority and reinforced it with regular messages from his mountain redoubt in the north-west province of Pakistan. He has repeatedly said every “true Muslim must make it his duty to assist in all ways possible to find the next powerful weapon to destroy our enemies”.
After the election of the new Pakistani president, the controversial Asif Ali Zardari, who has served a nine-year jail term on corruption charges he has strongly denied, MI6 fear there will be little ability to provide strong leadership against the new wave of Islamic extremism that al-Qaeda has launched across the country.
Groups such as the newly formed Pakistan Taliban have proclaimed it is focussing on creating a “dirty bomb”.
MI6 agents based in Islamabad fear the mounting instability in Pakistan will make it easier for them to do so.
While Pakistan is the only Muslim country with a nuclear arsenal, it has in the past provided its expertise to Iran.
Pakistan’s Islam bomb was developed in the 1990s by the rogue scientist, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. He sold them to pariah states like North Korea and Libya. He was placed under house arrest by Pervez Musharraf.
But since Musharraf was forced to resign, restrictions on Khan’s detention have been virtually lifted–a decision that has alarmed Western diplomats in Pakistan.
While Musharraf readily agreed for the US to place stringent security around Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, there are serious concern that President Zardari will not be able to resist the rampant pressure al-Qaeda is mounting from its terrorist infrastructure base in Waziristan province in the north-west of the country.
A senior U.S. security official in Islamabad said: “Our concern is the sudden rise in intelligence which strongly indicates that al-Qaeda has renewed plans to gain access to nuclear material that could form a primitive nuclear device, one perhaps that a suicide truck bomber could use”.
In a “dirty bomb”, conventional explosives are surrounded with radioactive material.
The MI6 priority alert says such a device, while having a limited effect as a nuclear weapon, would create widespread panic.
An indication of how the threat has increased has been the number of terrorist-related websites which contain details of how to create a “dirty bomb”. As soon as the sites are discovered, they are eradicated by MI6’s experts. But within days they reappear elsewhere.