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Inside the Ring: New al Qaeda threat
A jihadist website posted a new threat by al Qaeda this week that promises to conduct “shocking” attacks on the United States and the West.
The posting appeared on the Ansar al Mujahidin network Sunday and carried the headline, “Map of al Qaeda and its future strikes.”
The message, in Arabic, asks: “Where will the next strike by al Qaeda be?” A translation was obtained by Inside the Ring.
“The answer for it, in short: The coming strikes by al Qaeda, with God’s Might, will be in the heart of the land of nonbelief, America, and in France, Denmark, other countries in Europe, in the countries that helped and are helping France, and in other places that shall be named by al Qaeda at other times,” the threat states.
The attacks will be “strong, serious, alarming, earth-shattering, shocking and terrifying.”
Under a section of the post on the method of the attacks, the unidentified writer said the strikes would be “group and lone-wolf operations, in addition to the use of booby-trapped vehicles.”
The reference to France appears linked to the group’s plans for retaliation against the French-led military strikes in northern Mali in operations to oust al Qaeda terrorists from the North African country.
The Ansar al-Mujahidin network is a well-known jihadist forum that in the past has published reliably accurate propaganda messages from al Qaeda and its affiliates.
U.S. counterterrorism actions over the past 10 years have prevented al Qaeda from conducting major attacks. However, U.S. officials warn that the group continues to be dangerous, despite the killing of its top leaders in drone strikes and special operations.
A U.S. official said the threat is being taken seriously by the U.S. government.
“Extremists regularly make threats online,” he told Inside the Ring. “This one is not particularly unusual, but of course should be taken seriously.”
Retired officers on Hagel
Retired senior military officers on the right and left of the political spectrum are squaring off in the confirmation fight for former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary who is set to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Conservative former officers say Mr. Hagel is the wrong person to head the Pentagon because of his soft-line views on Iran, hostility toward Israel and support for cuts in U.S. military and nuclear forces.
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About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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