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Laden orders attack on UK
Published on 2 Oct. 2010 10:29 PM IST
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Osama Bin Laden personally ordered commando attacks on Britain, U.S. intelligence chiefs believe.
The Al Qaeda leader is said to have sent a directive to his planners several months ago naming the countries and the type of attacks he wanted.
Bin Laden’s direct link to the plot was released by intelligence officials via National Public Radio in the U.S. yesterday.
It came 48 hours after details of how missile strikes fired into militant camps by unmanned drones in Pakistan’s tribal area had disrupted the planning of the Al Qaeda operation.
Two British brothers of Pakistani origin – one of whom was reportedly killed in the drone strikes earlier this month – and eight Germans were said to have been receiving terror training for the raids in camps near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. France and Germany were also targets.
Gunmen had planned to open fire on crowds at busy European tourist sites and take hostages at hotels in a plot that would have marked a new style of attack by Al Qaeda.
The attacks would have been similar to the Mumbai atrocities of November 2008 which left 173 dead after a series of ten co-ordinated shootings and bombings carried out by Muslim fanatics from Pakistan.
‘We know that Osama Bin Laden issued the directive,’ National Public Radio quoted an unnamed intelligence official as saying.
‘And if he issued the directive, we just don’t believe that the U.S. wouldn’t be on his shortlist of strategic targets.’
An intelligence team is said to have been tracking the two British brothers for nearly a year and the Germans for more than six months.
‘They have been making calls to Germany and London,’ an intelligence official in Pakistan said.
‘They have been talking about and looking for facilitators and logistics there to carry out terror strikes.’
Both European and U.S. officials said the plot was still in its early stages and not considered serious enough to raise the terror threat level.
In Britain it remains at severe, meaning a terrorist attack is highly likely.
Details of the plot are said to have emerged following the arrest of a German citizen of Afghan descent, Ahmed Sidiqi, 36, in Kabul in July. He is said to have supplied details of Al Qaeda training camps used by Europeans and of plans to carry out attacks in Europe.
Last year he and several others Germans travelled to the Afghan-Pakistan border and joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and extremist group allied with Al Qaeda.
An audio tape, thought to be of Bin Laden, has been released criticising relief efforts following floods in Pakistan and calling for action against climate change.
The message, entitled Pauses with the Method of Relief Work, was broadcast with a video of images of Bin Laden and of natural disasters. Its authenticity could not be confirmed.

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