SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Friday, September 26, 2003
LONDON — Al Qaida has warned its agents that they have been infiltrated by the United States.
An Al Qaida spokesman said the infiltration had been conducted by the United States in cooperation with unspecified Arab intelligence services.
“We warn of attempts to infiltrate the holy warriors in Iraq,” the Al Qaida spokesman said. “There is a need to kill spies and make them an example for punishment after their presence and activities have been demonstrated.”
The statement came in wake of the capture of several Al Qaida agents in the Sunni Triangle and Mosul area of Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported. The arrests have pointed to links between Al Qaida and loyalists of deposed President Saddam Hussein.
The statement was relayed by the London-based Center for Islamic Research and Studies.
This was the first time Al Qaida has acknowledged that its forces have been penetrated by Western agencies. Until now, Western intelligence analysts said the United States and its allies have failed to infiltrate the middle and senior ranks of the Islamic movement.
Al Qaida asserted that the penetration efforts first stemmed from Algeria. The statement by the unidentified spokesman said Algeria sent agents dressed as Islamic mujahadeen, or holy warriors, who identified themselves as members of the leading insurgency groups that operated in the North African country.
The latest appearance of spies in Al Qaida came from an unidentified Arab ally and neighbor of Iraq, the statement said. The Al Qaida infiltrators were detected several months ago and have infiltrated organization cells in Iraq.
Islamic sources close to Al Qaida said the reference was to Saudi Arabia. Over the last few months, thousands of Islamic volunteers have left Saudi Arabia for Iraq to participate in the Sunni insurgency war against the United States.
The United States was said to have placed tracking devices on the infiltrators to target Al Qaida cells in Iraq. The Al Qaida statement warned against accepting Islamic volunteers without screening them to ensure that they do not contain U.S. agents. Al Qaida said all Islamic volunteers must demonstrate a background in insurgency activities.
The Islamic sources said Al Qaida had suspected that the United States tried to infiltrate the upper echelons of the group after the suicide strikes in New York and Washington in September 2001. The sources said a U.S. air strike against the Al Qaida leadership in the Afghan city of Kandahar in October 2001 stemmed from information by a spy within Taliban.