Before the dust and debris even settles in the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, the question of responsibility is on everyone’s mind.
Some analysts suggest the flamboyant attack involving the commandeering of multiple U.S. airliners and suicide crashes into strategic targets has the signature of Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Bin Laden is known to have pilots on his payroll and has been fond of airliner hijackings in the past.
But Bin Laden hardly operates in a vacuum. In fact, he has close ties with many other terror groups and leaders — including Hamas and Yasser Arafat.
According to the intelligence report, the U.S. tipped off Israel that Bin Laden’s al Qaeda cells and networks in Lebanon were complete and ready to launch strikes in Israel. They operate under the command of Imad Mughniyeh, terrorism and intelligence consultant to Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the report. As former head of the Lebanese militant Hezbollah’s security apparatus in the 1980s, Mughniyeh was responsible for the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut and the blasting of Israeli locations in Argentina.
The Bin Laden-Mughniyeh alliance for terrorizing the West is long-standing. It was forged in the early 1990s by the Egyptian-born former U.S. army sergeant Ali Mohamed, who, on Oct. 20, 2000, became the first of bin Laden’s associates to plead guilty in a U.S. court to conspiring with the Saudi terrorist.
Mohamed’s confession is the key to convicting the five suspects (of a list of 22) who are currently on trial before the Manhattan federal court for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 223 people including 12 Americans. The U.S. indictment against him cites Mohamed as revealing that Bin Laden and Mughniyeh carried out joint operations in the past with direct support from Iran.
Furthermore, Arafat’s organization has experience and history in hijackings. In September 1970, the Fedayeen hijacked four aircraft in one day.
Even today in the Palestine Authority’s official newspapers, suicide bombers were once again glorified.
In Al Hayat Al Jadida, the man responsible for a suicide bombing two days ago was characterized as a “hero.”
“The suicide bombers of today are the noble successors of their noble predecessors … the Lebanese suicide bombers, who taught the U.S. Marines a tough lesson in (Lebanon) … and then, with no preconditions, they threw the last of the remaining enemy (Israeli) soldiers out of the (security) zone,” reported Al Hayat Al Jadida today. “These suicide bombers are the salt of the earth, the engines of history … They are the most honorable (people) among us.”
According to today’s Jerusalem Post, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is claiming responsibility for the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, although some DFLP sources deny any involvement.
According to that report, Eli Carmon, in the counter-terrorism department of Israel’s Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, said the Palestinian group, if responsible, has “a lot to lose because America would react very harshly against the Palestinians, however it is not impossible that a radical group was involved.”
Carmon also noted that the World Trade Center has been targeted once before in 1993, when a bombing killed six people and injured more than 1,000. He said that there have been threats by unidentified Islamic groups to target the World Trade Center again if Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the militant Egyptian cleric, who is serving a life sentence in the US after his conviction in a plot to bomb the United Nations and New York landmarks, was not released.
Agreeing that terrorist mastermind Osama Bin-Laden may well be involved, Carmon characterized the alleged terrorist attack as a “declaration of war” on the U.S. and advised the U.S. to “react in an extremely harsh manner.”