[ RadSafe ] Al-Qaida plotting nuclear attack on UK, officials warn

Fred Dawson fd003f0606 at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue Nov 14 13:14:11 CST 2006

Guardian reports

Al-Qaida plotting nuclear attack on UK, officials warn


British intelligence officials believe that al-Qaida is determined to
attack the UK with a nuclear weapon, it emerged yesterday. The
announcement, from an officially organised Foreign Office
counter-terrorism briefing for the media, was the latest in a series of
bleak assessments by senior officials and ministers about the terrorist
threat facing Britain.
UK officials have detected "an awful lot of chatter" on jihadi websites
expressing the desire to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or
nuclear weapons. Asked whether there was any doubt that al-Qaida was
trying to gain the technology to attack the west, including the UK, with
a nuclear weapon, a senior Foreign Office counter-terrorism official
said: "No doubt at all." 
The official explained: "We know the aspiration is there, we know the
attempt to get material is there, we know the attempt to get technology
is there." 

The warning comes after a speech last week by the foreign secretary,
Margaret Beckett, on the terrorist threat facing the UK, and a rare
public outing for Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, who
warned that there were at least 30 active plots to attack Britain. With
new counter-terrorism measures to be unveiled in tomorrow's Queen's
speech, the weekend saw Gordon Brown back an extension to the time for
which terrorism suspects can be held without charge, beyond the current
28 days. 

The senior Foreign Office official said that the US and Russia had
within the past fortnight signed an agreement to toughen nuclear
counter-proliferation measures. Last week a British man, Dhiren Barot,
was jailed for at least 40 years after pleading guilty to plotting
attacks against the UK and US, including the use of a "dirty bomb". Such
a device would spread low-level radiation, primarily causing panic among
the public. In last week's case the plan would have needed material from
10,000 smoke alarms, leading some to doubt that the plot was viable. 

For al-Qaida and jihadis, a devastating nuclear attack on Britain, not
just the use of a "dirty bomb', would be part of the desire and agenda
to cripple the west, sources said.
The senior Foreign Office official said: "There are people for whom it
would be a triumph for the cause." 
The network of the rogue Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, which is
feared to have sold nuclear technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea,
was broken up three years ago, but there are fears that other illegal
networks may exist. 
British counter terrorism officials believe plots they have thwarted and
plots they claim are being hatched have strong links to Pakistan. They
say hundreds of Britons travelled in the past year to Pakistan for
terrorism activity, including training in camps and acting as couriers
for messages. Officials also believe Britons are taking cash to
terrorists in Pakistan.

Fred Dawson
Fwp_dawson at hotmail.com

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