Jan 23 2010
Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba has acquired more than 50 para-gliding equipment from Europe, setting off alarm bells in the government that these could be used to carry out air-borne suicide attacks on India.
The intelligence input which came barely days ahead of Republic Day celebrations has prompted authorities to ensure a tight air security around all vital installations, official sources said here on Friday.
The input about movement of overground workers, owing allegiance to LeT, in Europe led the sleuths to find out that they were on a shopping spree for para-gliding equipment, the sources said. Security agencies have carried out mock drills in different areas in the country as part of the exercise to prevent any air-borne suicide attack by LeT terrorists.
Earlier, intelligence reports suggested that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence had directed the militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir to use explosive-laden ‘Toy Planes’ to hit VIPs in the state and the national capital. TIME OF INDIA via Religion of Peace
New MUSLIM Terror Alerts spread around the world.
In the last three days, the governments of eleven countries have scrambled to elevate their preparedness levels for Islamist terror, or enforced extraordinarily stringent security measures. Another six governments have pursued these steps without fanfare.
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 22-23, India placed its airlines and airports and those of all of South East Asia -Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – on alert for a possible airplane hijacking by al Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taibem. The UK elevated its terror threat level from “substantial” to “severe” – one below top and suspended direct British airline flights to and from Yemen.
Last week, five Britons were apprehended at Islamabad airport attempting to pass their boarding passes to five others. Yemen itself stopped issuing entry visas at Sanaa airport. The British appear to fear a fresh spate of terrorism inside the country.
Although the Obama administration has not formally raised the current terror alert level, vigilance at all American airports and border posts has been radically heightened since a Nigerian terrorist tried to blow up the Northwest airliner on Christmas day. Since Jan. 4, the airlines and passengers from 14 listed countries have faced body screening before boarding flight to the United States. Last week, six people on the newly-expanded no-fly list were not allowed to board US-bound flights.
Saturday, US airport authorities were warned that at least two female suicide bombers of “non-Arab appearance” and bearing Western passports may have been sent to America by al Qaeda-Yemen – either to blow up US-bound flights or commit suicide attacks inside the country.
President Obama and top US security officials have been aware of the new network or cluster of cells taking shape in Europe. First detected by the German BND, it appears to be structurally similar to the Hamburg cell, which planned and executed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. The German agency also tipped off Israel to its forecast of a new wave of Islamist terror threatening the US and other parts of the world.
The new network has recruited new faces not on Western anti-terror services books with no known links to al Qaeda members or members of their families. “Al Qaeda is believed to have taken to employing in their European networks typical Westerners of Caucasian appearance, quite different from the stereotypical Muslim.”
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates have taken their own precautions. Jordan’s security services are fully mobilized since the attempt to blow up an Israeli embassy convoy on Jan. 15. Israel routinely receives terrorist advisories from Western intelligence agencies and maintains its own security regimen at home. DEBKA
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