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Actionable Intelligence Briefing – June 18 to June 25 , 2007

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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.



Media and Television Crews Used as Cover for Terrorist Acts Twice This Week
Basra, Iraq- Shiite terrorists posing as a television film crew arrived at the Talha bin Obeidallah Mosque in Basra, Iraq and wondered around the Mosque planting explosives at major structural supports to guarantee destruction of the Sunni shrine.
Kisufeem, Gaza- Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists attempted to carry out a kidnapping operation with 4 gunmen using a white jeep with the letters “TV” in black. (The “TV” painted on or using tape began during the Al Aksa Intifadah and was a way for media vehicles to travel in dangerous areas without coming under fire from either side.) Israeli soldiers noticed the car in an area that the media does not usually go, and began to follow its movements. The white jeep blasted through the border fence and stopped outside an abandoned IDF outpost where the gunmen got out and began to open fire on the entrance. The military unit dispatched to the scene engaged the gunmen, killing one and thwarting the attempt.
Terrorists and those engaged in guerilla warfare are notorious for using internationally agreed-upon non-combatant covers to carry-out attacks. Militants posing as members of the media, humanitarian aid agencies, or even the using ambulances as cover for terrorist movement are a common and accepted technique within such terrorist organizations. Criminals and terrorists have been known to exploit the freedom of movement that members of the media receive.Security managers are advised to brief security officers on how to deal with media and to assure credential authenticity.
Israeli Security Services released information this week that a pregnant mother of eight and her niece, also a mother, were arrested while on their way to carry out a double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and Netanya on behalf of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
This event further clarifies the exploitation of humanitarian issues as a cover for terrorist operations. It is a particularly troubling issue for security personnel that are worried about being perceived as overly aggressive.
The issuance of a clear Standard of Procedure to security personnel and Law Enforcement Officers, provides them the confidence to carry-out the necessary security measures while causing the least amount of distress for civilians.


JFK Airport Plot Planning Techniques Being Slowly Revealed
The JFK airport gas tank plot was stopped by FBI officials in the USA and security officials in Guyana and the Caribbean island of Trinidad. However, a lot can be learned from the techniques used to gain the pre-operational intelligence needed to plan such an attack. A few facts of interest to law enforcement and security personnel can be ascertained from the investigative report:

  • Defreitas (the principle suspect) used a video camera to record sections of the gas pipeline.
  • GoogleEarth was used for accurate aerial imagery of the pipeline layout.
  • It was observed that the nighttime security provided by the NYPD was much tighter than the private security that guarded during daylight hours.

Security managers and Law Enforcement officers must be briefed that any plot requires pre-operational intelligence if it is to be a success. Keeping up-to-date on threats and techniques is essential in successful counter-surveillance.
Malaysian Government Warns of Serious Terrorist threat in Malacca Straits
The essential waterway between the western island of Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra carries 30% of the world’s trade. This area, through which half of the world’s oil shipments pass, is patrolled by the three surrounding countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
One month ago, TAMC2007-05-14 reported on Al Qaeda’s Operation Doctrine: “There are five important maritime passages in the world, 4 in Arab countries control and one in American. Most of the things that pass through these are oil vessels from the Gulf to the West. There was a demand for attacks on US and allied vessels by use of sea mines, light arms and missiles, and suicide attacks.”
“This can be seen as a direct threat to all Western Ships that pass through any of the maritime passages worldwide but specifically the Suez Canal. TAM-C analysts are operating to find more information on this specific maritime threat.”
Al Qaeda has repeatedly called for attacks on commerce and sees the world economy as a major target. The oil industry has been specifically targeted. Any organizations with international maritime interests should take the high alert in the area into consideration.


Bridges once Again the Chosen Target for Iraqi Insurgents
This past week, three bridges were targeted by Iraqi insurgents bent on destroying critical infrastructure in Iraq. Iraqi bridges have been targeted for a number of reasons over the last few months. Recently, in an attempt to cut Baghdad into two, the main bridges connecting the east and west sections of the city were targeted.
A bridge’s symbolic significance is also a motive for the targeting. The effect of the destruction of a bridge is much greater than other attacks on transportation venues. The time needed to repair or rebuild a bridge is much more than any other attack on transportation infrastructure.
The use of explosive-laden trucks has been the weapon of choice in the targeting.


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