UN: Al Qaeda Planning Uranium Bomb

(National Post - Canada) Steven Edwards - Al Qaeda appears determined to produce a "dirty bomb" capable of spreading radioactive material over a wide area, after Tanzanian police seized 110 kilograms of suspected raw uranium last month, according to a report by the UN Monitoring Group on al Qaeda. The report says uranium is "usually" smuggled from neighboring countries through Tanzanian border towns. A "dirty bomb" is a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material that would kill few people in the initial blast but would create fear, panic, and a long-term cancer risk with the spread of the radioactive material. Huge financial losses would also result as people fled contaminated areas. U.S. authorities believe they stymied al Qaeda planning for a "dirty bomb" attack on a U.S. city with the May arrest of Jose Padilla, who became a radical Islamist and was on a scouting mission for the terrorist network, they say. The twin terrorist attacks last month on Israeli targets in Mombasa, Kenya, for which al Qaeda claimed responsibility, has raised U.S. concern that East Africa and the Horn of Africa to the north have become havens for al Qaeda cells since their expulsion from much of Afghanistan.

2002-12-13 00:00:00

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