Does Al Qaeda plan radioactive attacks on three US cities?

By Xinhua

Los Angeles : Apparent threats to launch radioactive attacks on three major US cities has made authorities in New York mount a heightened alert.

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An Israeli website reported Sunday the threat of dirty bomb attack using radioactive chemicals in New York, Los Angeles and Miami was based on a “rush of electronic chatter on Al Qaeda sites”.

According to the website, Al Qaeda communications accused US leadership of not taking seriously last week’s video message narrated by Al Qaida spokesman Adam Gaddahn, an American who grew up in Orange County, southern California.

The video had threatened terrorist attacks on American interests, especially embassies.

“They will soon realise their mistake when American cities are hit by quality operations,” a message said.

Another message said the attacks would be carried out “by means of trucks loaded with radioactive material against American’s biggest city and financial nerve centre”.

The report said there was no way of gauging for sure how serious the threats were or whether they were just mean to “give the Gaddahn tape extra mileage”.

“But it is important to note that the exchange of messages took place over Al Qaida’s internal Internet sites and that they contained the threat of radioactive terror and specific American cities for the first time after a long silence on these subjects,” the website said.

In response, authorities in New York City increased security and set up checkpoints to inspect vehicles.

In Los Angeles, the terrorist threat level was not raised and no increased security or extra patrols were ordered because the report was unverified, said Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department’s media relations office.

“We always hope to be prepared if anything should happen but there is no special alert at this time,” Lopez said.