Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Terror Plot: A Failed Replay of London and Madrid?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Terror Plot: A Failed Replay of London and Madrid?

Article excerpt

More arrests are likely in the alleged Al Qaeda plot on American targets that appears to be the first operational plan to execute mass-casualty attacks within the US since 9/11.

Law enforcement officials have told reporters that up to a dozen others may be involved in a plan to bomb subway stations and other crowded venues. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigations issued bulletins to local police to watch for suspicious activity around stadiums, entertainment complexes, and hotels, according to the Associated Press. The agencies said they had no information on timing or location but that it was "prudent to raise the security awareness of our local law enforcement partners regarding the targets and tactics of previous terrorist activity."

Previously, a national alert was issued about people purchasing large quantities of chemicals that could be used for explosives.

While evidence is still emerging in the case around Denver airport shuttle driver, Najibullah Zazi, experts and officials say the details suggest the plan is similar to attacks in London and Madrid in which suicide bombers killed scores of people.

Federal agents "found things that ... suggest there may have been methods here that are similar to previous attacks," says Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a terrorism expert and vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. "There is a belief that these guys were serious."

In the 2004 Madrid bombings, which killed 191 people, the attackers blew up four commuter trains. In London, 52 people died after four men detonated peroxide-based bombs on buses and trains during rush hour in July 2005.

In this case, law enforcement officials suspect that Mr. Zazi and others also intended to build peroxide-based bombs. Federal agents have apparently discovered bomb-making instructions on Zazi's laptop and he has reportedly admitted to receiving weapons and explosives training at an Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan. …

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