POPE SAID TO BE TARGET FOR EASTER TERRORIST ATTACK
THE WORLDS FIRST AUTHORITATIVE NEWSLETTER OF INTELLIGENCE
NEWSBREAKS ANALYSIS COMMENTARY
March 28, 2002
POPE EASTER TARGET FOR ISLAMIC TERRORISTS
US NAMES HIGH RISK ITALIAN CITIES FOR TOURISTS
CIA AND EUROPEAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES SAY HAMAS SLEEPER AGENTS MOBILISED IN EUROPE
by Gordon Thomas (EXCLUSIVE)
Pope John Paul has been told by Italian intelligence chiefs that he is a prime target for Islamic terrorists this weekend as he makes his traditional Easter appearance in St. Peters Square. Close to one million are expected to listen to his Easter Day address on Sunday.
The ailing pontiff already has fragments of a bullet from a previous assassination attempt on his life by a Muslim fanatic, Mehmet Ali Agca, in May, 1981.
Despite requests, the Pope has refused to wear a bullet-proof vest. But his popemobile has been recently strengthened with armoured protection.
The U.S. State Department has taken the unprecedented move of saying it has credible evidence that a number of cities in Italy also face terrorist attacks on that day. They include the historic American Church in Florence and other religious museums.
At Easter both St. Peters Square and the potential targets named by the State Department are usually prime attractions for Americans.
The State Department warning is based on a red alert overnight from the CIA and European intelligence services. They have identified targets also at risk as:
*The Eiffel Tower in Paris. Scores of extra armed security men are being drafted in for the four-day holiday.
*The Tower of London. Security is to be further reinforced.
An M16 source has warned: We believe the sleeper agents could have been in place for some time. They will pose as tourists.
In the past twenty-four hours Mossad, Israeli intelligence, has confirmed to two other security agencies that it had picked up credible intelligence that Hamas leaders in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon have alerted its cells in Europe to be ready to attack.
While intelligence chiefs confirm the most likely form of attack will be a suicide bomber using explosives, Italian and German spy chiefs have not ruled out that this Easter could see their worst nightmares come true a terrorist launching a biological attack.
For months European intelligence agents have been trying to find a Hamas group the same terrorist organization that murdered 18 and wounded 120 guests at the onset of the Jewish Passover on Thursday night who are rumoured to have acquired a small quantity of bio-materials from two former Soviet bio-labs in Prague.
Czech intelligence have told their counterparts in Germany and France that a small quantity of germs was sold to two men last year. Photos supplied by Mossad, Israeli intelligence, have identified both men as members of Hamas.
The vials they bought contain a toxin code-named BTX. It is one of the most deadly germs in the biological arsenal. It has an 80% fatality rate and exists in at least six forms. The commonest is mimicking acute food poisoning.
Another vial holds the yellow-fever virus. It can be dispensed by aerosol and almost always causes inflammation of the brain.
A third vial also feared to be in the hands of the terrorists is a form of anthrax created by Russian scientists.
In an accident in 1979 the anthrax was released in the Soviet city of Sverdolvsk. Hundreds died.
Last week in a secret report to M16 and other European intelligence services, the Czech authorities admitted that a substantial number of vials of germs went missing from our institutes.
Gordon Thomas is a writer on intelligence for a number of leading European newspapers (the Sunday Express, UK; El Mundo, Spain; Welt am Sonntag, Germany). His work is also syndicated internationally by World Wide Syndication. Any use of the above must carry a clear attribution to both Gordon Thomas and Globe-Intel. He is a Contributing Editor to Globe-Intel, an international newsletter devoted to intelligence matters.
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