Recently captured terrorists say two al-Qaida-linked groups are training members in scuba diving in preparation for seaborne attacks, according to a Philippine military report.
The report, obtained by the Associated Press, also points to increasing collaboration among the Muslim terrorists in other areas, including financing and explosives.
As WND first reported based on information gathered by the premium online intelligence newsletter Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the threat of Islamist terrorism on the high seas is worldwide – not limited to one region.
U.S. intelligence services believe scores of acoustic sea-mines, found to have disappeared from a naval base in North Korea by a U2 spy plane, could be aboard these bin Laden “terror ships” and that Western luxury liners and aircraft carriers were the targets of this sea jihad.
WND reported last June on evidence terrorists were learning about diving, with a view to attacking ships from below. The Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines kidnapped a maintenance engineer in a Sabah holiday resort in 2000. On his release in June this year, the engineer said his kidnappers knew he was a diving instructor – they wanted instruction.
The owner of a diving school near Kuala Lumpur reported a number of ethnic Malays wanting to learn about diving, but being strangely uninterested in learning about decompression.
G2 Bulletin pointed out this was reminiscent of reports that Sept. 11 hijackers who attended U.S. flight schools were only interested in learning how to fly planes, not land.
The new Philippine report said Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah has given Abu Sayyaf at least $18,500 for explosives training alone in the past year.
One month ago, the AP reported, the U.S. Coast Guard announced it wanted to upgrade protection of the nation’s ports from terrorist attacks by scuba divers.
The Coast Guard is seeking development of a new sonar system that can distinguish human swimmers from dolphins.
The FBI announced three years ago it was probing al-Qaida’s alleged training of scuba divers to blow up waterfront targets, including ships and power plants.
The Philippine report stated Abu Sayyaf member Gamal Baharan — a suspect in a deadly Manila bus bombing Feb. 14 — told of being trained with other terrorists for scuba-diver strikes.
Baharan said Abu Sayyaf leaders Khaddafy Janjalani and Abu Sulaiman initiated the training in preparation for a Jemaah Islamiyah bombing plot on unspecified targets outside the Philippines.