40 al-Qaeda terrorists dead after failed experiment with plague weapon
Published 22 January 2009
40 al-Qaeda members died after being exposed to the plague during a biological weapons test; test took place in cave hideouts in Tizi Ouzou province, 150 kilometres east of the Algerian capital Algiers.
Last month (23 December 2008 HS Daily Wire) we reported that leaders of the U.S. Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism said that the Obama administration must do more, much more, to prevent a terrorist attack on the United States. The most urgent task:
Focus on bioterrorism. The united States must raise the priority of the most likely form of attack — bioterrorism — by mobilizing the life sciences community to develop protocols that prevent misuse of scientific research; tightening oversight of U.S. high-containment laboratories and the security of those around the world; improving U.S. response time in the event of an attack; and educating the American people in order to prevent panic. “We must lead the international community in the development of an action plan for universal adherence to and compliance with the anemic 36-year-old Biological Weapons Convention.”
The commission, led by former senators Bob Graham (D-Florida) and Jim Talent (R-Missouri), is apparently correct in its assessment. Peter Goodspeed writes in the National Post that the very day Barack Obama was sworn in as president, warning Americans “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred,” there were reports an al-Qaeda affiliate recently abandoned a training camp in Algeria after forty terrorists died from being exposed to the plague during a biological weapons test. The report, which first surfaced in the British tabloid The Sun, says members of al-Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb (AQLIM) hurriedly abandoned their cave hideouts in Tizi Ouzou province, 150 kilometres east of the Algerian capital Algiers, after being exposed to plague bacteria.
The newspaper said they apparently became infected while experimenting with biological weapons. Algerian security forces discovered the body of a dead terrorist alongside a road near the abandoned hideout.
U.S. intelligence officials, speaking anonymously with Eli Lake of the Washington Times on Tuesday, could only confirm the sudden base closure after an unconventional weapons test went wrong. The officials said they intercepted an urgent communication in early January between the AQLIM leadership and al-Qaeda’s top leaders in the tribal region of Pakistan. The Algerian terrorists said they were abandoning and sealing off a training area after a leak of a chemical or biological substance.
AQLIM, once known as the Salfist Group of Call & Combat, is one of the most radical and violent Islamist groups operating in North Africa. It has ties to Moroccan terrorists who carried out the 2004 Madrid train bombings and bombed the UN headquarters in Algiers in 2007, killing 41 people.
Plague comes in two types of plague. Bubonic plague, which is spread by bites from infected rat fleas, killed a third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century but can now be treated with antibiotics. Pneumonic plague is less common but more deadly. It is spread, like the flu, by airborne bacteria, and can be inhaled and transmitted between humans without the involvement of animals or fleas.
Goodspeed reports that for years, U.S. Defense Department officials have warned al-Qaeda operatives have been actively pursuing sophisticated biological weapons research.
News of the latest al-Qaeda threat broke four days after Mike McConnell, U.S. director of national intelligence, said Osama bin Laden’s third-eldest son and heir apparent, Saad, has been released from house arrest in Iran. The 27-year-old, who was groomed by his father to assume a leadership role in al-Qaeda, had been detained since after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. U.S. intelligence says that during his detention, Saad bin Laden was allowed to continue to operate. He played a prominent role in ordering a 2002 suicide bombing of a Jewish synagogue in Tunisia, commanded a series of bombings that killed 45 people in Casablanca, Morocco, in May 2003, and sent suicide car bombers who killed 35 people in Riyadh, also in May 2003.
During his final news briefing of the Bush administration, McConnell said Saad bin Laden is now “probably in Pakistan.” His departure could signal a new relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda, but it might also suggest al-Qaeda is moving to consolidate its leadership in territory under its control in Pakistan.
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