Al Qaeda Poised for Festival Strike


April 14, 2003

Osama bin Laden’s organization is reported preparing to stage a comeback by a fresh terrorist assault in Turkey against American or Israel/Jewish targets over Passover this week or Easter, next. Upon receipt of this intelligence, Ankara placed its counter-terror units on high alert, installing special security measures at its civilian and military airfields and around bases accommodating US forces.

According to DEBKAfile’s sources, Al Qaeda planners, established at a forward base in Iran, are plotting a dual strike against a hotel frequented by Israeli holiday-makers and an incoming Israeli airliner – on the lines of the attack the network mounted last November 28 in Kenya on the Israeli-owned Mombasa Paradise hotel and Arkia airliner. Al Qaeda may also seek out a large local Jewish gathering for the Passover Seder. As in Mombasa, the fundamentalist terrorists are preparing to use shoulder-launched Strela SA-7 anti-air missiles, whether against an incoming Israeli airliner or American aircraft ferrying American military personnel into Turkey.

Its operatives are reportedly lying in wait on both sides of the Turkish-Iraqi border to ambush American convoys and attack isolated US installations in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the last week, they the terrorists were seen slipping across from Iran into Turkey and northern Iraq.