Al Qaida has allegedly acquired 15 vessels it plans to send into British ports laden with lethal chemical and ‘dirty bomb’ containing depleted uranium, reports the London-based newspaper The Mirror.
Targets may include the British Parliament, cruise liners, oil rigs, the UK’s Met’s marine unit and other sensitive targets, the media report said.
A memo published by the paper states that financial services major Lloyd’s have been mobilized to assist MI6 and the CIA trace vessels bought by Al-Qaida from a Greek shipping magnate having links to Osama bin Laden.
“Al-Qaida has reportedly taken possession of 15 ships, forming what could be described as the first terrorist navy. The ships fly the flags of Yemen and Somalia where they are registered – and are capable of carrying lethal cargoes of chemicals or a dirty bomb,” the memo said.
Alarmed by the report British government is reportedly checking vessels with flags of Senegal, Liberia and the Caribbean island of St Vincent in the Indian or Pacific oceans and routinely patrolling the Thames to protect Parliament, MI6, and other possible targets.
The Royal Navy, Special Forces and the Yard’s anti-terrorism squad are looking for “unusual” shipping movements near Britain’s oilfields and oil refineries, the newspaper said.
US intelligence experts believe an al-Qaida ship carried explosives used to bomb two US embassies in Africa in 1998, as was the case in the Bali bombing.