Zarqawi focusing sights on Europe: report
WASHINGTON: Iraq’s most wanted militant, Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who as Al Qaeda’s pointman in Iraq has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks, is overseeing preparations for a major attack in Europe, Time magazine said on Sunday.
Citing European intelligence reports, Time said Zarqawi “has been overseeing preparations by highly trained operatives for a large scale terrorist attack in Europe”.
Time did not specify the origins of the intelligence reports, but said Zarqawi has spoken of sleeper cells in Turkey and Iran “in communications with another Al Qaeda leader”.
The reports imply that these cells may be in contact with European jihadi groups that previously had no links to Al Qaeda, Time said.
“The fear is we’ll see these disparate, relatively inexperienced groups around Europe hook up with Afghan-trained terror cells, all under the influence of Zarqawi,” independent French terrorism expert Roland Jacquard told Time.
European officials say the reports are based in part on US officials’ interrogation of suspected Al Qaeda deputy Abu Faraj Al Libbi, captured last May in Pakistan.
Zarqawi has written to Al Libbi about setting up camps in Jordan, Turkey, Syria or Lebanon, European officials say. afp