Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is a weekly online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.
Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network has purchased at least 15 ships in the last two years – creating, perhaps, the first terrorist naval force, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Lloyds of London has reportedly helped Britain’s MI6 and the U.S. CIA trace the sales made through a Greek shipping agent suspected of having direct contacts with bin Laden, the online intelligence newsletter reported.
The ships fly the flags of Yemen and Somalia – where they are registered – and are capable of carrying cargoes of lethal chemicals, a “dirty bomb” or even a nuclear weapon, according to G2 Bulletin’s sources. British and U.S. officials worry that one or more of these ships could hit civilian ports on a suicide mission.
The freighters are believed to be somewhere in the Indian or Pacific oceans. When the ships left their home ports in the Horn of Africa weeks ago, some were destined for ports in Asia.
The U.S. Department of State Friday warned citizens overseas that the threat of terror attacks did not end with the passing of the September 11 anniversary – specifically mentioning the threat of maritime terrorism.
“We are seeing increasing indications that al-Qaida is preparing to strike U.S. interests abroad,” said the State Department’s “Worldwide Caution.”
“It is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing threat that they may be a target of terrorist actions, even after the anniversary date of the September 11 attacks and to add the potential for threats to maritime interests.”
“Looking at the last few months, al-Qaida and its associated organizations have struck in the Middle East in Riyadh, in North Africa in Casablanca and in East Asia in Indonesia,” the State Department said.
The report continued: “We expect al-Qaida will strive for new attacks that will be more devastating than the September 11 attack, possibly involving non-conventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents. We also cannot rule out the potential for al-Qaida to attempt a second catastrophic attack within the US. US citizens are cautioned to maintain a high level of vigilance, to remain alert and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness,” the warning said.
G2 Bulletin sources say other potential targets of the al-Qaida armada, besides civilian ports, include oil rigs. Another threat is the ramming of a cruise liner.
Some British navy officials have expressed concerns about not being able to patrol its coasts adequately against such a threat.
If a maritime terror attack comes, it won’t be the first. In October 2000, the USS Cole, a heavily armed ship protected with the latest radar defenses, was hit by an al-Qaida suicide crew. Seventeen American soldiers died. Two years later, following the attacks on the Twin Towers, a similar attack was carried out against a French supertanker off the coast of Yemen.