Al-Qaida manual foretells attacks on plants, skyscrapers, stadi

Saturday, February 2, 2002

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A training manual for members of Osama bin Laden's terror network lists skyscrapers, nuclear plants and crowded football stadiums as the best targets for spreading fear in the United States and Europe.

The chapter on foreign operations in the 11-volume "Manual of Afghan Jihad" also recommends targeting sites of "sentimental value" such as the Statue of Libery, Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Such landmarks, the two-page chapter noted, would generate intense publicity with minimal casualties.

It also suggests attacks on Jewish organizations and large gatherings of Jews to cause as many deaths as possible, as well as the assassination of prominent figures in Arab nations.

The FBI has "moved heaven and Earth" to intensify security for Sunday's Super Bowl game in New Orleans and next month's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, director Robert Mueller said.

The nation should remain on a "very high state of alert," Mueller said, adding that there could be al-Qaida operatives hidden in the United States. "Do I know for sure? I believe there are, but I cannot say for sure," he said Thursday.

Calls for vigilance

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials have repeated calls for vigilance in recent days, warning that large terror attacks could still take place. Documents found in Afghan-istan have included diagrams of American nuclear power plants, intelligence officials have said.

The two-page chapter on foreign operations was found as The Associated Press conducted an exhaustive translation of the 5,000-page manual.

The manual was produced in Arabic by al-Qaida's training department before the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States. It was obtained by AP from a former Afghan resistance fighter, who got it from a disaffected al-Qaida member in Afghanistan.

"There must be plans in place for hitting buildings with high human intensity like skyscrapers, ports, airports, nuclear power plants and places where large numbers of people gather like football grounds," the chapter said. It also recommended major public gatherings such as Christmas celebrations.

The manual said special units should work in areas with large Jewish communities. "In every country, we should hit their organizations, institutions, clubs and hospitals," it reads.

Like a blueprint

Bin Laden, a Saudi exile, opposes Saudi Arabia's rulers for allowing U.S. troops to be based in the country. Also, Egyptian Islamic militants who are now part of al-Qaida have killed or tried to kill several politicians and intellectuals in Egypt in their lengthy campaign to overthrow that country's government.

The chapter, entitled "External Pressure," reads like a blueprint for the Sept. 11 attacks, in which four hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

"The strikes must be strong and have a wide impact on the population of that nation," the essay said. "Four targets must be simultaneously hit in any of those nations so that the government there knows that we are serious."

The chapter did not elaborate on ways to attack the targets.

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