- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Officials suspect imminent terror attack

FBI officials yesterday issued a nationwide alert for a 22-year-old Yemeni man and several associates authorities believe may be plotting a terrorist attack as early as today.
The last-minute alert, forwarded to 18,000 law-enforcement agencies across the country, calls on federal, state and local authorities to be on the lookout for Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei, a Yemeni national born in Saudi Arabia in 1979, and nearly a dozen associates.
The alert is the fourth that the FBI has issued publicly since September 11 but is the first to specifically name an individual.
The FBI said in the alert the threat of an attack had been deemed credible but was not specific regarding possible sites. It also had not been corroborated. In addition to law-enforcement officials, the alert calls for citizens to be cautious.
"Recent information indicates a planned attack may occur in the United States or against U.S. interests on or around Feb. 12, 2002. One or more operatives may be involved in the attack," noted the alert, adding that police and other law-enforcement authorities should "stop and detain" Mr. al-Rabeei if he is spotted and that he and his associates "should be considered extremely dangerous."
Information on the possible threat, law-enforcement authorities said, was prompted by intelligence gathered during interviews in recent days of detainees in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where Taliban fighters and several members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network are being held.
The authorities said U.S. officials were taking the threats "very seriously."
Last week, CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee the al Qaeda network was working on "multiple-attack plans" and had put cells in place to carry them out, that terrorists could attack nuclear plants or chemical industry sites using conventional means "to cause widespread toxic or radiological damage," and that attacks could be launched by al Qaeda cells in major European and Middle Eastern cities.
Mr. Tenet also said al Qaeda was connected with groups in Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia and the Philippines, and there were fears the terrorist group and others could attack using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
The FBI said Mr. al-Rabeei may be traveling on a Yemeni passport and that he has used several aliases, including Fawaz Yahia Hassan Aribii, Fawaz Al-Rubai, Fawz Al-Ruben, Forqan Al-Tajiki and Furqan the Chechen. His whereabouts are unknown, and no physical description was available last night.
His known associates, named in the alert, include Issam Ahmad Dibwan al-Makhlafi, Ahmad al-Akhader Nasser Albidani, Alyan Muhammad Ali al-Wa'eli, Bashir Ali Nasser al-Sharari, Bassam Abdullah bin Bushar al-Nahdi and Abdulaziz Muhammad Saleh bin Otash.
Also identified in the alert are Mustafa Abdulkader Aabed al-Ansari, Omar Ahmad Omar al-Hubishi, Ammar Abadah Nasser al-Wa'eli, Shuhour Abdullah Mukbil al-Sabri, Samir Abduh Sa'id al-Maktawi, and Abdulrab Muhammad Muhammad Ali al-Sayfi.
The authorities said no evidence shows whether Mr. al-Rabeei has entered the United States. The alert did not indicate whether the attack was planned by or involved the al Qaeda network. All of Mr. al-Rabeei's associates were identified as being from Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Tunisia.
The FBI has posted the alert on its Web site at www.fbi.gov and was expected late last night to add pictures and other information.
Before yesterday's alert, the last such public notification came Dec. 3 and was expected to be rescinded after the Christmas holidays, although it has since been extended through the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
No information in yesterday's alert suggests whether the possible attack site was the Olympics.
U.S. intelligence officials said they have received what they described as a continuous flow of information concerning nonspecific threats of another attack.
The FBI also has issued a number of nonspecific alerts to operators of nuclear-power plants, public utilities and bridge operators, and to various Internet sites, cautioning about possible threats.


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