- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 17, 2002

From combined dispatches
A plot to release cyanide gas on London's Underground rail system and a plan to blow up a hotel in Yemen housing Americans have been foiled with the arrests of suspected al Qaeda activists, security sources said yesterday.
The reports of the plans and arrests were disclosed a day after the FBI issued an alert against al Qaeda plans for "spectacular attacks" against landmarks and aviation, petroleum and nuclear targets in the United States.
The developments also follow the broadcast last week of a purported Osama bin Laden audiotape in which the speaker warns of more dramatic attacks against the United States and its allies, including Britain, Canada and Australia.
Britain's Sky Television News reported yesterday that British police have arrested and charged three North African men in connection with the suspected cyanide-gas plot. Sky News said the three men were of Tunisian or Moroccan background and were members of an al Qaeda-linked group called the North African Front.
Rabah Chekat-Bais, 21, Rabah Kadris, 30, and Karim Kadouri, 33, were charged under the Terrorism Act of 2000. Mr. Chekat-Bais appeared before Bow Street Magistrates Court in central London last Monday and Mr. Kadris and Mr. Kadouri appeared in court Tuesday.
According to the London Sunday Times, which broke the story, anti-terrorist agents infiltrated the gang during a six-month operation.
The London Underground, popularly known as The Tube, is the world's oldest and one of its most extensive subways, carrying millions of passengers every day around the British capital.
In Kuwait, authorities confirmed news reports of the arrest of a top al Qaeda leader who was preparing for an attack on a Yemen hotel. The suspect, identified only as Mohsen F., headed al Qaeda operations in the Arabian peninsula and was in touch with the militant network's operatives in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Al-Qabas daily said in an advance copy of its Sunday edition sent yesterday to Reuters news agency.
It was not clear if Mohsen, who was born in 1981, was the high-ranking unidentified al Qaeda leader who U.S. government sources said Friday had been captured in the past week or so and was in U.S. custody. One of the newspapers said Mohsen was arrested two weeks ago.
A Kuwaiti security source confirmed to Agence France-Presse that Mohsen was involved in a plot to attack a hotel in Yemen during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A retired officer from the Kuwaiti army also was involved in collecting funds and supervising operations in Yemen, the reports said, adding that $127,000 had been collected for the planned operation on the hotel.
The hotel attack was to be supervised by a Yemen-based al Qaeda leader identified as Abu Asim al-Makki, the Al-Anba newspaper said.
A security source told al-Qabas that Kuwaiti authorities had passed information obtained from Mohsen to the United States and France one week ago. This information included the names of two men who purportedly planned the Oct. 6 attack on the French tanker Limburg, which gutted the ship and killed one crewman.
Security sources told al-Qabas that one of the men Mohsen identified also was believed to have been involved in the 2000 suicide bombing of the U.S. warship Cole in Aden harbor that killed 17 U.S. sailors.
Meanwhile, a new cache of al Qaeda training videos discovered in Afghanistan revealed that the group was planning an attack on a hotel in Britain or the United States, the London Sunday Telegraph reported today.
The videos, thought to have been made in 1999, were among a collection that an Afghan commander from the Northern Alliance found in a deserted house on the Shamali Plains near Kabul after the fall of the Taliban last year. The videos surfaced in Kabul only last week, the Telegraph reported.


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