Sydney Morning Herald – Dubai: Al-Qaeda is preparing a new attack in the United States on the scale of September 11 after adopting a new operational structure which is impenetrable to US intelligence, a Saudi weekly reports in its Friday edition.
“An attack against America is inevitable,” Al-Majallah quotes the Islamic militant network’s newly-appointed spokesman Thabet bin Qais as saying in an email to the paper.
Al-Qaeda has “carried out changes in its leadership and sidelined the September 11, 2001 team”, the paper quotes bin Qais as saying.
“Future missions have been entrusted to the new team, which is well protected against the US intelligence services. The old leadership does not know the names of any of its members.”
Bin Qais mocks concerns expressed by Washington about a possible al-Qaeda attack on its consulate in the Pakistani metropolis of Karachi, saying the network’s target is the United States itself.
“Of course, the US consulate in Karachi is a US interest and a staging post for Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel in Pakistan, but it doesn’t necessarily constitute a pressing target,” he says.
“Striking it is not a priority for al-Qaeda compared with the plans under way preparing a new attack in the United States on the scale of September 11.”
The purported message from al-Qaeda scoffed at recent press reports that US agents are hot on the trail of its leader Osama bin Laden, whose whereabouts has been a mystery since the ouster of his Taliban sponsors in Afghanistan in late 2001.
“We keep our cool in the face of such reports, just as we do when the Americans say they have uncovered new al-Qaeda plans or arrested our leaders,” bin Qais is quoted as saying.
“The al-Qaeda organisation does not allow itself to be affected by the death or arrest of any of its members … because fallback plans and replacement personnel are always available.”