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WASHINGTON – Raising new concerns about the use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists, al-Qaida is planning spectacular attacks next month against the U.S., Russia and Europe in what it is calling the “Great Ramadan Offensive.”

The offensive, designed to overshadow the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon, was first referenced in a May 30 letter written by al-Qaida’s Iraq commander Abu Musab Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden. It is the subject of a report written by terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky, the former director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, to government officials. Bodansky’s report was first exposed in a story by CNSNews.com reporter Sherrie Gossett.

Ramadan, the holiest period in the Muslim calendar, begins Oct. 4 this year and lasts a month.

Zarqawi characterizes the attacks as a “fateful confrontation” with the U.S. and Israel.

Airports in Italy and the Netherlands are referenced as specific potential targets, and Italy is already on high alert for possible terrorist attacks.

A Zarqawi operative named Abu Abdul Rahman al-Jazaeri is considered a key figure in the planned Italy attacks. He is believed to be in the country, but eluding authorities.

Details of the operation came from intercepted communications between top al-Qaida leaders about two weeks ago.

“I think that the plan for the next stage that was drawn up has reached you or is on its way to you,” said Zarqawi’s letter to bin Laden. “O God. Make the expedition of Osama proceed toward its goal … We await your orders as to the next stage of the plan.”

Bodansky says plans for attacks against Europe are being finalized in the Balkans, while preparations for attacks on Russia are being completed in Chechnya. Attack plans against the U.S. are being directed from the tri-border area in Latin America.

He also concludes that al-Qaida leaders have interpreted the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina as a sign that Allah is pleased with their plans.

The alarming report comes weeks after WND and G2 Bulletin broke a series of stories on al-Qaida’s “American Hiroshima” plan – 10 years in the design stages – to detonate one or more nuclear weapons in major cities in the U.S.

Intelligence analysts and sources disagree on the details of the way bin Laden’s “American Hiroshima” plan unfolds. Some G2 Bulletin sources emphasize bin Laden’s commitment to re-enacting the 1945 attack on Japan with one nuclear detonation, followed by another days later.

Paul Williams, author of “The Al-Qaeda Connection,” however, sees a much more devastating, coordinated, all-out, surprise attack coming.

“The next attack, according to al-Qaida defectors and informants, will take place simultaneously at various sites throughout the country,” he writes. “Designated targets include New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston, Las Vegas, and Valdez, Alaska, where the tankers are filled with oil from the Trans-Alaska pipeline. To orchestrate such an incredible event requires not only the shipment of the nukes into the United States but also the establishment of cells, the training of sleeper agents, the selection of sites, and the preparation of the weapons without detection from federal, state or local law enforcement officials. Unlike 9-11, that cost less than $350,000, this event already has cost a king’s ransom, and bin Laden will not waste the billions in expenditures, the years of planning and his coveted ‘crown jewels’ on an attack that is ill-planned, poorly timed and carelessly coordinated.”

Other sources interpret some of the same information, based on captured al-Qaida operatives and documents as well as defectors, differently. They project an escalating series of attacks, each followed by blackmail demands upon the U.S. government and the American people.

In any event, both kinds of spectacular nuclear terror attacks require pinpoint coordination and secure communication.

Williams also says al-Qaida is determined to locate tactical nuclear weapons that were forward-deployed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. These weapons were reportedly buried at remote sites throughout the country for recovery by Soviet agents.

“There is no doubt that the Soviets stored material in this country,” says Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Research. “The question is what and where.”

Bin Laden may have a considerable head-start in the search given his predilection toward hiring former Soviet special forces officers whose job it was to know something about these plans.

U.S. officials have reportedly ordered the excavation of several sites believed to be possible depots.

Russian defector Stanislav Lunev told congressional investigators nuclear suitcases had been buried throughout the U.S., and that he could not pinpoint the locations because Russian military leaders continue to believe a nuclear conflict with the U.S. is still “inevitable.” He said the only hope of finding them would be if the Russian government disclosed the locations.

During the same hearings, Belgian officials testified they found three secret depots containing tactical nukes buried by the Soviets in the 1960s.

As WorldNetDaily and G2 Bulletin have reported, al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union – including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads. In addition, documents captured in Afghanistan show al-Qaida had plans to assemble its own nuclear weapons with fissile material it purchased on the black market.

The plans for the devastating nuclear attack on the U.S. have been under development for more than a decade. It is designed as a final deadly blow of defeat to the U.S., which is seen by al-Qaida and its allies as “the Great Satan.”

At least half the nuclear weapons in the al-Qaida arsenal were obtained for cash from the Chechen terrorist allies.

The plans for the devastating nuclear attack on the U.S. have been under development for more than a decade. It is designed as a final deadly blow of defeat to the U.S., which is seen by al-Qaida and its allies as “the Great Satan.”

For continuing and complete coverage of the nuclear terrorist threat, subscribe to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online, intelligence newsletter edited by the founder of WND.

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How terror nukes got inside America

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