Beware of backpackers clutching a well thumbed copy of The Budget Terrorist Guide: How to Conquer Europe on Only Ten Dollars a Day.
The al-Qaida terrorist network spent less than $50,000 on each of its major attacks except for the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings, and one of its hallmarks is using readily available items such as cell phones and knives as weapons, a U.N. report says.
The report, released Thursday by a new team monitoring the implementation of U.N. sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taliban, detailed just how little it cost to mount terrorist operations.
For example, the report said the March attacks in the Spanish capital, Madrid, in which nearly 10 simultaneous bombs exploded on four commuter trains, used mining explosives and cell phones as detonators and cost about $10,000 to carry out. The blasts killed 191 people, Spain’s worst terrorist attack.
A little more than $50 a head.
Only the sophisticated 9/11 attacks in the United States, using four hijacked aircraft, “required significant funding of over six figures,” the report said. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, the vast majority in the collapse of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center.
The 9/11 Commisssion Report estimates the cost at between $400,000 and $500,000.
The report said U.N. sanctions have had only “a limited impact,” primarily because the U.N. Security Council has reacted to events “while al-Qaida has shown great flexibility and adaptability in staying ahead of them.”
Note to the U.N., John Kerry, and especially France: Conflicts, whether they be wars, cold wars, a war on terror, or ideological struggles, are won by going on the offensive.