© Associated Press 02feb02
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A training manual for members of Osama
bin Laden's terror network lists
skyscrapers, nuclear plants and crowded sports stadiums as the
best targets for spreading fear
in the United States and Europe. The chapter on foreign operations
in the 11-volume Manual of
Afghan Jihad also recommends targeting sites of "sentimental
value" such as the Statue of
Liberty, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. Such landmarks, the two-page
chapter noted, would
generate intense publicity with minimal casualties.
It also suggests attacks on Jewish organisations and large
gatherings of Jews to cause as many
deaths as possible, as well as the assassination of prominent
figures in Arab nations.
The FBI has "moved heaven and Earth" to intensify
security for Sunday's Super Bowl game in New
Orleans and next month's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, director
Robert Mueller said.
The nation should remain on a "very high state of alert
... for some time," Mueller said,
adding that there could be al-Qaeda operatives hidden in the
United States. "Do I know for
sure? I believe there are, but I cannot say for sure," he
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other US officials have
repeated calls for vigilance in
recent days, warning that large terror attacks could still take
place. Documents found in
Afghanistan have included diagrams of American nuclear power
plants, intelligence officials
The two-page chapter on foreign operations was found as The
Associated Press conducted an
exhaustive translation of the 5,000-page manual.
The manual was produced in Arabic by al-Qaeda's training department
before the September 11
terror attacks in the United States.
It was obtained by the AP from a former Afghan resistance
fighter, who got it from a
disaffected al-Qaeda member in Afghanistan.
"There must be plans in place for hitting buildings with
high human intensity like
skyscrapers, ports, airports, nuclear power plants and places
where large numbers of people
gather like football grounds," the chapter said. It also
recommended major public gatherings
such as Christmas celebrations.
The manual said special units should work in areas with large
Jewish communities. "In every
country, we should hit their organisations, institutions, clubs
and hospitals," it reads.
"The targets must be identified, carefully chosen and
include their largest gatherings so that
any strike should cause thousands of deaths."
"As for Arab nations, operations should expand to include
the assassination of influential and
effective personalities," it said.
Bin Laden, a Saudi exile, opposes Saudi Arabia's rulers for
allowing US troops to be based in
the country. Also, Egyptian Islamic militants who are now part
of al-Qaeda have killed or
tried to kill several politicians and intellectuals in Egypt
in their lengthy campaign to
overthrow that country's government.
The chapter, entitled External Pressure, reads like a blueprint
for the September 11 attacks,
in which four hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade
Centre towers, the Pentagon and
a field in Pennsylvania.
US officials believe the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania
was to have struck a target in
Washington, DC, but crashed after passengers and crew members
fought the hijackers.
"The strikes must be strong and have a wide impact on
the population of that nation," the
essay said. "Four targets must be simultaneously hit in
any of those nations so that the
government there knows that we are serious."
The chapter did not elaborate on ways to attack the targets,
nor did it give any indication
that specific operations were in the works.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week alerted nuclear
power plants that terrorists may
be planning an attack on a reactor using a hijacked airliner.
The alert said an al-Qaeda operative claimed "the attack
was already planned." However, an FBI
official said yesterday that the information, after being evaluated,
was deemed not credible.
The Manual of Afghan Jihad was dedicated to bin Laden and
Abdullah Azzam, a prominent
Palestinian killed during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
The writing style
strongly suggests that it was written by an Egyptian.
Several members of bin Laden's inner circle in al-Qaeda are
known to be Egyptians. The 19
known hijackers on September 11 were believed to have been led
by an Egyptian, Mohammed Atta.
In other chapters, the manual offers advice on how to raise
funds for covert operations
through extortion, blackmail and kidnappings for ransom.
To cover the high cost of maintaining a cell, it advises creating
a business to generate a
Members of a cell in a country where an attack is planned
shouldn't exceed seven and mustn't
know each other. Only the leader of the operation should know
them, it says.
Another chapter details the punishment reserved for members
found to have betrayed colleagues
to authorities or stolen money from the group.
"A senior member who betrays his brothers to the regime
where they live should be punished in
such a way that he would desire death for the rest of his days,"
says the manual. "But if a
brother is killed as a result of his betrayal, then he must be
killed to make an example of
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