Attacks Bear Earmarks of Al-Qaeda

(Washington Post) Steve Coll and Susan B. Glasser - Counterterrorism specialists have been warning of such a strike on European soil for much of this year. The British venue, the soft targets with economic importance, the timing during the Group of 8 summit, and the relatively simple operational techniques conformed almost precisely to the methods of an evolving al-Qaeda movement. The British bombings "seem to be very much consistent with a Sunni jihadist movement that is overall as strong as ever but more decentralized, in which attacks are being instigated and carried out in more places than just the core leadership hiding in their caves in South Asia," said a former senior U.S. intelligence official. "According to Osama bin Laden's thinking, there are no dormant cells," Abu Jandal, one of bin Laden's former bodyguards in Afghanistan, said in a recent interview in the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "Every element of al-Qaeda is self-activated. Whoever finds a chance to attack just goes ahead." "I do not really believe there is such a thing as al-Qaeda, the organization; there is al-Qaeda, the mindset," said Yosri Fouda, a reporter in London for al-Jazeera who interviewed Sept. 11 planners Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. "This is what I find much scarier. Your ability to predict is reduced to a minimal level." Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp., said the State Department asserts that 4,000 terrorism suspects have been arrested worldwide since Sept. 11, 2001. "But they are being replaced as fast as we can kill or capture them," he said.

2005-07-08 00:00:00

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