Bin Laden may hit Pakistan nuclear facility : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Analysis / Bin Laden may hit Pakistan nuclear facility By Ze'ev Schiff American intelligence analysts doubt bin Laden's claim to have a nuclear weapon but are concerned that his al-Qaida organization could launch a surprise attack against a nuclear facility in Pakistan to try getting non-conventional weapons.

These intelligence warnings were made before an interview with bin Laden's was published in Pakistani newspapers yesterday, in which he said he had nuclear weapons. American analysts have been involved in updating scenarios for possible reprisals and surprise attacks that bin Laden might attempt against the U.S. and its coalition partners.

Their main working assumption has been that bin Laden and al-Qaida will not limit action to conventional forms of combat - as in the case of the hijacked airplanes attack against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They believe he will again try to shock the West with an unusual terrorist attack. A strike against the nuclear facilities in Pakistan could be one such spotlight-grabbing action.

Trying to assess the likelihood of this scenario, the experts believe the key questions concern the Pakistani military. Is Pakistan's army loyal to General Pervez Musharraf, who grabbed power in a military coup - and have the Taleban and Al-Qaida tried to infiltrate and recruit supporters in the army?

In his interview with the Pakistani newspaper, bin Laden also suggested he had chemical weapons and the American experts say there is more serious evidence that al-Qaida may have access to chemical or biological weapons.

Bin Laden's interview gave ample coverage to Israel-Palestinian conflict and contained at least three sustained references to Israel and al-Aqsa mosque.

-- Martin Thompson (, November 10, 2001

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