[QODLink]
Archive
Book: Al-Qaeda planned US gas attack

Al-Qaeda planned to unleash a lethal gas in New York City's subway system in 2003 and came within 45 days of carrying out the attack when the group's No 2 called off the operation, according to a new book excerpted in next week's edition of Time magazine.

Last Modified: 18 Jun 2006 08:01 GMT
The subway attack was to take place before the Iraq invasion

Al-Qaeda planned to unleash a lethal gas in New York City's subway system in 2003 and came within 45 days of carrying out the attack when the group's No 2 called off the operation, according to a new book excerpted in next week's edition of Time magazine.

US intelligence learned of the plot from a laptop computer belonging to a Bahraini jihadist captured in Saudi Arabia in early 2003, says author Ron Suskind in his book The One Percent Doctrine.

The computer contained plans for an easily constructed and concealed device that releases deadly hydrogen-cyanide gas using a remote trigger, the book says.

"In the world of terrorist weaponry," writes Suskind, "this was the equivalent of splitting the atom. Obtain a few widely available chemicals, and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot - and then kill everyone in the store."

The CIA built a prototype of the captured design and showed it to George Bush, the US president, who ordered that alerts be sent through all levels of the US government, the book says.

Deadly device

The information contained plans for a gas-dispersal system  dubbed the mubtakkar (Arabic for device), Time said.

The deadly device was made up of two separate chambers for sodium cyanide and a stable source of hydrogen, such as hydrochloric acid.

Al-Qaeda 'planned to place gas-
delivery devices in subway cars'

A seal between the two chambers could be broken by a remote trigger, producing the toxic gas for dispersal.

Easily concealed, the device could inflict mass casualties if it were triggered in an enclosed public space, according to the  excerpt.

US intelligence learned from an al-Qaeda informant that the attack had been called off by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, 45 days before it was set to occur.

Strategic locations

Al-Qaeda had planned to place several of the poison-gas devices in subway cars and other strategic locations.

The informant, a management-level al-Qaeda operative who believed his leaders had erred in attacking the US directly, told US agents he did not know why al-Zawahiri scrapped the plan.

Time said it would post an excerpt of Suskind's book, published by Simon and Schuster, early on Sunday morning on its website time.com.

The latest issue of Time hits newsstands on Monday.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.