Of course, we have heard this before, and it is quite possibly just another attempt to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60). But Jane Novak explains why there may be more to it this time. “Warning of new bin Laden attack,” by Paola Totaro in The Age, November 10 (thanks to Armies of Liberation):
OSAMA bin Laden is planning an attack against the United States that will “outdo by far” September 11, an Arab newspaper in London has reported.
And according to a former senior Yemeni al-Qaeda operative, the terrorist organisation has entered a “positive phase”, reinforcing specific training camps around the world that will lead the next “wave of action” against the West.
The warning, on the front page of an Arabic newspaper published in London, Al-Quds Al-Arabi – and widely reported in the major Italian papers – quotes a person described as being “very close to al-Qaeda” in Yemen.
The paper is edited by Abdel al-Bari Atwan, who is said to be the last journalist to interview Osama bin Laden in 1996. According to the report, bin Laden is himself closely following preparations for an attack against the US and aims to “change the face of world politics and economics”. The operative is quoted as saying that “this will be shown by the fact that we now control a major part of the south of Somalia”.
The ex-operative says he remains in contact with current chiefs of the organisation in Yemen and that only six months ago bin Laden had sent a message to all jihad cells in the Arab world which asked them not to interact with their governments or local political parties and to deny any request for mediation or formal talks.
The source also said that during the next few days the terrorist organisation may send a sign of its violent intentions.
The warning has emerged at the same time as publication of a report leaked to The Telegraph newspaper which reveals that a document drawn up by the intelligence branch of the Ministry of Defence says that thousands of extremists are active in the UK.
The document says the operatives are predominantly UK-born and aged between 18 and 30. Many are believed to have been trained in overseas terrorist camps.
Security officials, The Telegraph reports, are convinced al-Qaeda cells will attempt another “spectacular” inside the UK with major transport centres, such as airports and train stations, the most likely targets. Other targets include the Houses of Parliament, Whitehall and Buckingham and St James’ palaces, with the threat level described as “severe”.