By Aaron Richman
This Intelligence report from the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response includes information from open and closed intelligence sources.
Not all information is able to be verified; however, the TAM-C is actively evaluating the reporting to establish its accuracy and to determine if it represents a possible link to terrorism.
United Kingdom Multiple Car-Bomb Terror Attacks Still Underway
Vigilant emergency medical personnel, responding to a random Ambulance call in a bar in the Haymarket area of London, noticed a silver Mercedes-Benz oddly parked and observed smoke coming from the car. London Police bomb technicians neutralized the explosive device which was made of a mixture of extremely flammable materials including 60 liters of gasoline, a number of propane tanks, and nails scattered around the vehicle. Police said that a “viable detonating device” was connected to the bomb. A rapid investigation, using local key-source intelligence and CCTV, led police to the second vehicle that had been towed after being parked in an illegal parking space.
Terror Alerts in the United Kingdom have gone up following the attempt. Saturday’s (30 June 2007) attack on Glasgow Airport in Scotland used the same technique as the other two in London. There is sure to be direct connection between the three. Latest reports state that the vehicles used in the London attacks originated in Glasgow.
Recent threats have mentioned London bars, transport, and landmark buildings that have been targeted in the past as well. Although no specific intelligence existed about this attempted attack, the target and technique has been mentioned in earlier plots. Dhiren Barot was jailed in the UK for 40 years after admitting to planning a number of terror attacks, one of which was to pack a stretch limousine with gas cylinders and detonate it near landmark buildings. His chosen targets stretch the Atlantic to include Washington DC and New York.
Los Angles authorities are on high alert after reports of a man connected to an earlier terror plot in London left Heathrow for LA for a two night stay, planning to return immediatly to the UK. This type of behavior is a sign for air travel security authorities of suspicious behavior, especially after the events in the UK.
The thwarting of London’s attempted terror attack is a classic example of how security authorities can act responsively without prior intelligence and based on the first responder community’s training and experience.
Proper briefing of security personnel at the near-by night club may have thwarted the attack even earlier. First reports from the scene mentioned that a bouncer at the club saw the driver of the first vehicle drive erratically, park illegally, and run away. This behavior should have been a clear sign of an obvious suspect. A jihadi website had a post that “London will be attacked” just 17 hours before the attack. Investigations are looking into a possible connection. The website makes a connection to the Al Qaeda call for suicide attacks in reaction to the British Knighting of Salman Rushdie.
Iraqi PM: AQ Planning Attacks in Other Countries
Iraqi Prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki, stated that through interrogations of Al Qaeda suspects arrested in Iraq, intelligence has been received that the multi-national Sunni terror organization is actively seeking ways to carry out attacks in other countries.
The latest offensives by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has led AQ planners to look to other arenas to strike both western targets and rival factions strongholds. This report came out two weeks after a Taliban propaganda video declared that it is sending suicide squads to western countries.
Bosnian Wahabbis Arrested, Points to Bigger Threats
A Tunisian born self appointed leader of the radical Islamic community in Bosnia was arrested this week by Bosnian Security forces for an attempted plot to kill some local villagers. The Baltic Islamic communities have received press attention after Al Qaeda operatives were reported searching for “white” Muslims who do not fit the physical characteristics of the “Arab Muslim”.
TAM-C analysts have been watching the threat from the radicalization of the Baltic States (Bosnia, Albania, and Serbia) Muslim population by Al Qaeda and other internationally led jihadi groups. A number of Balkan-born American citizens have been arrested in the last year on charges dealing with terrorism and radical Islam. Terror organizations will be using radical Muslims from these areas to assist in carrying out acts of terror both in Europe and America.
Amusement Park Tragedies Raising General Threat
The recent string of highly publicized severe injuries and deaths in amusement parks both in the USA and Europe is a precursor for targeting characteristics. TAM-C has mentioned the use of past tragedies in providing direction of future terror attacks.
The recent use of a “Mickey Mouse”-like character named “Farfour” by a Hamas-run children’s television show, displays the knowledge of the emotional effect that threats by or on childhood elements has on the western world. TAM-C analysts are monitoring any mentioning of Amusement Parks specifically Disneyworld, Disneyland, Euro Disney, and Hollywood affiliated parks.
Bottle Bombs – Easy to Learn How and Easy to Build
Bottle Bombs have reached new popularity with kids and are seen widely on Internet video sites. Their construction is simple and can be done with easy to obtain materials. The bombs are made in two ways; one, with dry ice and the other with caustic acid. Both are put inside plastic bottles from 20 ounces to three liters (or another airtight container), and left to expand and explode over time. The detonation time for the dry ice bombs are approximately 45 minutes and the acid varies between 5 to 15 minutes.
The use of this explosive device has been used for pranks and mailbox attacks around the country but there is certainly a threat that the bottle bomb — improved and perfected — could be used by both domestic and international terrorist entities. Security and First Responder mangers are asked to brief personnel on this threat and to take proper precautions with suspected items.
Hamas Threatens Multinational Force Option for Gaza
Hamas officials in Gaza have said that any multinational force will be met with bullets and mortars. EU and UN officials have been entertaining Palestinian Authority requests for a multinational force in Gaza.
Following the attack on Spanish UNIFIL observers in South Lebanon last week, TAM-C analysts expect more attacks on International Aid organizations and Military and Policing Agencies.
Attempt to Disrupt International Military Arms Exhibition
The DSEi Defense Systems & Equipment International Exhibition 2007, held be in London (11-14 September 2007), is being targeted by anti-war/anti-globalization groups. They have targeted this military weapons exhibition because (they state) it includes vendors from countries “who have human rights violations and a poor quality of life.”
TAM-C analysts have been observing groups such as smashEDO as they prepare to disrupt this event. They have held training sessions since May. They are encouraging groups to “Blockade, Destroy, March, Smash, Infiltrate, Invade, Picket, Harass” in an effort to close DSEi.
The offense against the exhibit begins with July Days of Action Against the Arms Trade (See 29 – 30 July). These are to be world-wide “days of autonomous action” against any company involved in the production, transportation, or sales of military arms.
This will be followed by an attempt to disrupt transportation leading to the exhibition. The final effort aimed at closing down the exhibition will be occurring at the London site. TAM-C analysts expect aggressive protests with the high likelihood of violence.
Aaron Richman is the managing partner for the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response in Philadelphia and Israel, where he is responsible for emergency management and planning. He’s also an adjunct professor at American Military University where he teaches courses in Emergency and Disaster Management.