Terror Manual Advises on Targets
Fri Feb 1, 4:53 PM ET
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - 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 Liberty, 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 ... for some time," 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.
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 Afghanistan 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. "The targets must be identified, carefully chosen and include their largest gatherings so that any strike should cause thousands of deaths."
"As for Arab nations, operations should expand to include the assassination of influential and effective personalities," it said.
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.
U.S. officials believe the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was to have struck a target in Washington, D.C., but crashed after passengers and crew members fought the hijackers.
"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, nor did it give any indication that specific operations were in the works.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week alerted nuclear power plants that terrorists may be planning an attack on a reactor using a hijacked airliner. The alert said an al-Qaida operative claimed "the attack was already planned." However, an FBI official said Thursday that the information, after being evaluated, was deemed not credible. The Manual of Afghan Jihad was dedicated to bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, a prominent Palestinian killed during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The writing style strongly suggests that it was written by an Egyptian.
Several members of bin Laden's inner circle in al-Qaida are known to be Egyptians. The 19 known hijackers on Sept. 11 were believed to have been led by an Egyptian, Mohammed Atta.
In other chapters, the manual offers advice on how to raise funds for covert operations through extortion, blackmail and kidnappings for ransom.
To cover the high cost of maintaining a cell, it advises creating a business to generate a regular income. Members of a cell in a country where an attack is planned shouldn't exceed seven and mustn't know each other. Only the leader of the operation should know them, it says.
Another chapter details the punishment reserved for members found to have betrayed colleagues to authorities or stolen money from the group.
"A senior member who betrays his brothers to the regime where they live should be punished in such a way that he would desire death for the rest of his days," says the manual. "But if a brother is killed as a result of his betrayal, then he must be killed to make an example of him."