U.N.- Al-Qaida still determined to use chemical, biological we

Sunday, November 16, 2003

UNITED NATIONS -- The al-Qaida terror network is determined to use chemical and biological weapons and is restrained only by the technical difficulties of doing so, a U.N. expert panel said in a confidential report.

Also, sanctions on supporters of al-Qaida and Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers appear to be too limited to prevent them from obtaining weapons and explosives, said the report, obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

"The risk of al-Qaida acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction also continues to grow," the experts said. "Undoubtedly al-Qaida is still considering the use of chemical or bio-weapons to perpetrate its terrorist actions."

While "important progress has been made toward cutting off al-Qaida financing," the report said, serious loopholes remain that enable the terrorist network to funnel money to operatives.

"Al-Qaida continues to receive funds it needs from charities, deep pocket donors, and business and criminal activities," it said.

It said al-Qaida has shifted much of its financial activities to areas in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia that lack the resources or the resolve to closely regulate such activity.

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