Saudis learn of another al Qaeda in Yemen plot
Image via WikipediaWashington Post:
In mid-October, several days before authorities intercepted two bombs planted on cargo airliners bound for the United States, Saudi Arabian intelligence officials tipped off their French counterparts about another terrorist plot.The North African al Qaeda operatives have been making money by smuggling Colombian dope brought into Africa via Venezuela with the probable assistance of the Chavez government and military. Now they are seen working with al Qaeda in Yemen. They may draw attention to themselves that could have severe consequences.
An al-Qaeda affiliate had dispatched a cell of North Africans, who crossed the Mediterranean Sea by boat, to carry out an attack in France, according to an Arab intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity. It was the latest in a rash of far-flung strikes planned by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based group that operated in relative obscurity for years but has more recently demonstrated an ability to launch attacks worldwide.
French officials quietly broke up the plot and have not released details about the intended target or the number of suspects involved. The operation largely has been overlooked since U.S., European and Saudi investigators turned their attention to the cargo plot at the end of October, when al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula concealed two powerful bombs in printer cartridges.
Yet the involvement of North Africans in the French plot - which has not been previously reported - marked the first known instance in which al-Qaeda's Yemeni arm has partnered with foot soldiers from North Africa.
Counterterrorism officials described it as another sign that the Yemeni chapter - once confined to the Arabian desert - has boosted its ambitions and sophistication by drawing on a pool of international recruits. The new members come from North America, South Asia, North Africa and Europe and are lending their skills in critical areas, from making bombs to designing propaganda.