News / USA

    US Alert for Terrorist Threats Following bin Laden's Death

    Police officers are briefed for a Philadelphia Police Department Homeland Security Unit emergency preparedness exercise in Philadelphia, May 4, 2011
    Police officers are briefed for a Philadelphia Police Department Homeland Security Unit emergency preparedness exercise in Philadelphia, May 4, 2011

    Multimedia

    Chris Simkins

    In confirming the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, the terrorist group al-Qaida is threatening more attacks against the United States and its allies.  And top U.S. security officials say they are on alert for possible terrorist retaliation attacks.  While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not issued specific terror warnings, law enforcement agencies have heightened security around the country to guard against attacks by al-Qaida-affiliated groups or by terrorists acting on their own.  

    Law enforcement agencies across the United States have stepped up patrols at travel hubs and government facilities, following warnings that Osama bin Laden's death might inspire home-grown extremists.

    "You're not going to have 19 hijackers taking down aircraft, but kids trying to find AK-47s or buy handguns or buy hand grenades on the street and go do something at a commercial facility like a mall or a 7-11 [convenience store]," said Philip Mudd, a former CIA officer and FBI counterterrorism agent.

    Analysts say authorities have stopped 38 terrorism plots in the United States since September 11, 2001.  And U.S. officials say documents seized from bin Laden's compound in Pakistan showed al-Qaida considered attacks against trains in the U.S. this coming September 11th.  Al-Qaida-affiliated groups have been linked to rail transport attacks in Europe.  

    Just a year year ago, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen - Faisal Shahzad - tried to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square.  And Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan who has been in the U.S. since 1999, attempted to bomb New York City's subway system in 2009.

    James Carafano, a national security expert with The Heritage Foundation in Washington, says security officials are keeping a close eye on al-Qaida-affiliated groups.

    "The U.S. has always been concerned about al-Shabab, that is a group based in Somalia," he said. "They have links to the Somali community in the United States.  They are a declared enemy of the United States and a supporter of al-Qaida.  We have also been very concerned about 'LeT' - Lashkar-e-Taiba - which is a group based in Pakistan, which launched the horrifying [2008] attacks in Mumbai."

    Counterterrorism experts say a group based in Yemen, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, might try to stage an attack.  The group is linked to radical cleric Anwar al-Alawki, an American believed to have ties to the failed 2009 Christmas Day plot to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner, and a scheme to plant parcel bombs on U.S. cargo flights last November.

    Tim Starks, who covers intelligence and homeland security issues for "Congressional Quarterly," says bin Laden's followers target transport facilities.

    "They definitely have a tendency to go back to the targets that they know. those are targets that are easy to plot against in some ways.  You don't have to have a lot of sophisticated efforts to go after them."

    Analysts say the U.S. remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but the best way to protect the country is not adding more layers of security, it is stepping up intelligence efforts before terrorists can attack.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora