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Friday, July 7, 2006

Attack On New York Foiled

Terrorists were plotting to attack the PATH commuter train. They were stopped, possibly in spite of the New York Times best efforts to help them, by the FBI monitoring internet chat rooms. From Fox News:
WASHINGTON -— FBI agents monitoring Internet chat rooms smashed an Al Qaeda terrorist plot to attack New York City's underground transit link with New Jersey, law enforcement officials said Friday.

The attack would have been carried out as early as the fall of this year.

"We're here today to discuss what we believe is the real deal," Mark Mershon, former assistant FBI director in New York, said during a press conference Friday. "We believe we intercepted this group early in their plotting and in fact, the plan has largely been disrupted."

The main target of the plot was the heavily traveled underground PATH train system that connects lower Manhattan and New Jersey's suburban communities, officials confirmed. The system carries more than 215,000 commuters daily. Mershon said the plot was supposed to be executed in October or November, but that it still was in the "planning stages."

Mershon said the plan "involved martyrdom and explosives."

Mershon confirmed that one suspect, Assem Hammoud, is in custody in Lebanon and facing criminal charges.

Hammoud, a Lebanese native and self-professed Al Qaeda operative, was arrested April 27, and admitted to plotting a terror attack in New York City, a senior Lebanese security official said Friday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said Hammoud claimed he was acting on orders from Usama bin Laden.

"I am proud to carry out his orders," Hammoud said, according to the official.

The statement said Hammoud was tracked down through monitoring of a Web site used by Islamic extremists, and "in cooperation and coordination with the FBI."

"It became clear from the analysis that (the Internet communications) related to the planning of a major terror act in the metro tunnels of New York under the Hudson River," the statement said.

Hammoud was in contact with other people in several foreign countries and most of these had been arrested by local security agencies, the statement added.

Under interrogation, Hammoud said he had dispatched detailed maps of the target via the Internet.

He also said he planned to travel to Pakistan in the near future for four months of training and "that the date of the operation would be late 2006," Lebanese police said.

The suspect told investigators he already had undergone training in light weapons at a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon that is notorious for lawlessness and violence among rival Palestinian factions, Lebanese officials said.
We should find out everything Hammoud knows, and then publicly execute him in Times Square.

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