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Warnings Mount of More al-Qaida Attacks - 2003-05-16


U.S. and other foreign intelligence agencies are warning of more attacks by the al-Qaida terrorist network against American interests in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and other parts of East Africa. The new terror warnings come days after alleged al-Qaida bombing attacks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that killed 34 people including eight Americans. VOA-TV’s Chris Simkins has more.

Just four days after the deadly suicide bombings in Riyadh, the United States is warning of the possibility of another imminent terrorist attack in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

The U.S. State Department is also warning against travel to Kenya. U.S. intelligence officials say terrorists might try again to shoot down civilian aircraft using shoulder-fired missiles. Last November the al-Qaida terrorist network allegedly attempted to bring down an Israeli plane after carrying out a bombing attack at a hotel in Mombassa. Now Britain has suspended all air travel to and from Kenya.

British Foreign Minister Mike O’Brien:

MIKE O’BRIEN, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER
“Do not go, even on holiday, to Kenya unless you absolutely have to. It is dangerous.”

Kenya’s National Security Minister says the sighting of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a suspected al-Qaida mastermind, prompted the new warning.

CHRIS MURANGARU, KENYA NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER
“We know as a definite that an individual by the name of Fazul, who was involved in the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, as well as the November 2002 bombing in Mombasa, is known to have come in and out of Kenya.”

Terrorism expert John Gearson:

JOHN GEARSON, TERRORISM EXPERT
“The nature of this alert and the suspension of flights from Britain to Kenya is such a dramatic step they must be acting on very specific intelligence.”

Security officials in Australia and New Zealand also issued terror warnings for several Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Intelligence analysts say al-Qaida may be trying to launch new offensives, some that could have been planned for months. They also say the terrorist organization may be trying to show it’s still a threat.

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