FBI warns of possible terrorist attack in United States
* The warning says the militants will try to cause massive casualities prior to September 19
WASHINGTON: An FBI terrorism task force in Los Angeles earlier this week warned of possible Al Qaeda attacks with tanker trucks in three major US cities around September 11, The New York Times said on Friday.
Law enforcement officials questioned the reliability of the warning, while government officials who were briefed on it described it as credible and specific enough to warrant attention, said the daily.
Issued on Wednesday, the warning said “Al Qaeda leaders plan to employ various types of fuel trucks as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in an effort to cause mass casualties in the US prior to the 19th of September,” according to law enforcement officials who have read it, the daily said.
It warned that terrorist would seek to hijack gasoline or oxygen tankers or trucks and ram them into a gasoline station to cause major explosions. “Attacks are planned specifically for New York, Chicago and Los Angeles,” it said, adding that it was “unclear whether the attacks will occur simultaneously or be spread out over a period of time.”
The attackers, the advisory said, “will be members of small Al Qaeda cells which are spread throughout the US.”
Their goal, added the advisory, “is to collapse the US economy.”
An unnamed law enforcement official told the Times said the advisory had information about “a generic threat trucks have been talked about by Al Qaeda all the time. They used that tactic around the world.” “The information is uncorroborated, and the source is of questionable reliability,” said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse, adding, however, that the information “continues to be evaluated by the intelligence community.”
Nevertheless, law enforcement officials interviewed by the daily said they were concerned about possible attacks timed with the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist strikes on New York and Washington.
“There’s always that possibility and it’s something we always look at very closely because it is such a symbolic day,” said a senior Justice Department official who also asked not to be identified. afp