January 11, 2004


The London Times reports:

An Islamic terrorist suspect linked to Al-Qaeda has been arrested after apparently preparing himself for a suicide bombing in Britain.

The man, an Algerian asylum seeker, had left suicide notes to his mother and sister warning them that he planned to "martyr" himself.

If you’re not a Times subscriber, another report can be found here. Things seem to heating up all over Europe:

Previously seen as a relative backwater in the war on terror, Europe is now in the frontline. 'It's trench warfare,' said one security expert. 'We keep taking them out. They keep coming at us. And every time they are coming at us harder.'

Britain is still playing a central logistical role for the militants, with extremists, including the alleged mastermind of last year's bombings in Morocco, and a leader of an al-Qaeda cell, regularly using the UK as a place to hide. Other radical activists are using Britain for fundraising, massive credit card fraud, the manufacture of false documents and planning. Recruitment is also continuing. In one bugged conversation, a senior militant describes London as 'the nerve centre' and says that his group has 'Albanians, Swiss [and] British' recruits. He needs people who are 'intelligent and highly educated', he says and implies that the UK can, and does, supply them.

Europe is a more likely site for a major terrorist attack this year than the US.

UPDATE. As predicted:

The French police are convinced that their country has escaped a planned chemical or biological attack by an Islamist cell linked to al-Qaida.

An interior ministry official said evidence from Islamist militants arrested in the Lyon area last week made it "very plain" that an attack with the deadly botulism or ricin toxins was being actively prepared.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 11, 2004 12:26 PM

This is what diversity has given us.

Posted by: gaz at January 11, 2004 at 01:12 PM

>"Europe is a more likely site for a major terrorist attack this year than the US."

Gee, if I didn't know better -- y'know, that Amerikka brought this all on itself, and Europe's not a part of this fight -- I'd almost think that it's as if these guys respect and fear strength, and pounce on weakness... Nah...

>"this is a struggle the West cannot lose"

The WEST? B-B-But I thought this was all Amerikkka's fight?!?

Posted by: der letzte Mensch at January 11, 2004 at 02:13 PM

Al-Qaeda has been trying to circumvent improved US airline security by getting aboard trans-Atlantic flights and using those to attack targets in the US. But this hasn't happened yet, since US security is closely watching these flights as well our domestic flights. If Al-Qaeda continues to get frustrated by US airline security, they will simply cut US security out of the loop by switching to intra-European flights, which the US won't be watching.

If European security is less vigorous than US security, than Europe becomes the softer target. Another reason why an attack in Europe may be more likely than one in the US.

Posted by: Tim Shell at January 11, 2004 at 03:22 PM

That's a good point, Tim.

In Iraq, once the UN offered up its soft belly to the dead-enders, that's where they struck. Not at the heavily fortified US bases.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 11, 2004 at 07:06 PM

Calling from my abode in Finland,I can only agree:most Europeans still believe that it 'can't happen here'.

Why?Because we expect the terrorists to be as rational as we are.Attacking Europe wouldn't make sense.But then,attacking New York and Washington didn't turn out to have made any sense,either.

Posted by: Jussi Hämäläinen at January 11, 2004 at 07:28 PM

One wonders what it will take for the Brits to get off their asses and do something about all the terror facilitators operating quite openly in their country. You would think the IRA would have taught them a lesson or two.

Say what you will about the Frogs, but they know how to use a jackboot, and for all their horribly misguided immigration policies, they seem to be keeping the real nutsos under their thumb.

Posted by: R C Dean at January 11, 2004 at 10:51 PM

Perhaps the Europeans should be asking themselves: "Why do they hate us so?"

Posted by: Rebecca at January 12, 2004 at 04:20 AM