Al-Qaeda's New Strategy

(Newsweek) Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball - The investigation into last month's devastating suicide bombings in Istanbul has uncovered compelling new evidence pointing to a highly sophisticated operation carried out by homegrown militants, but planned by al-Qaeda operatives who may have included Osama bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. One of the key ringleaders of the operation, a previously obscure Islamic fighter named Azad Ekinci, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, left Turkey for Dubai 19 days before the attacks. Arrested suspect Yusaf Polat told police that the ringleaders of the attacks, Ekinci and another Turkish accomplice, Habib Aktas, had several meetings with al-Zawahiri, the fanatical Egyptian physician who merged his Islamic Jihad organization with al-Qaeda in the early 1990s and became bin Laden's second in command. Some U.S. officials say the Turkish bombing, represents the new face of international terror. Al-Qaeda operatives, perhaps inspired if not directed by leaders such as al-Zawahiri, essentially "piggyback" on the activities of local militants, providing training, skills, and financing that allows the indigenous groups to commit attacks that are more deadly and sophisticated than would otherwise be possible.

2003-12-15 00:00:00

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