Islamic militants have conducteddry runs of a devastating new style of bombing on aircraft flying to Europe, intelligence sources believe.
The tactics, which aim to evade aviation security systems by placing only components of explosive devices on passenger jets, allowing militants to assemble them in the air, have been tried out on planes flying between the Middle East, North Africa and Western Europe, security sources say.
Concerns that militants might assemble a bomb or another weapon on board were a key factor in the series of recent cancellations of transatlantic flights. Last weekend British Airways stopped flights from London to Washington and Miami for fear of an attack and Air France also cancelled scheduled flights.
If you are flying this summer, you might want to read Never Again: A Self Defense Guide for the Flying Public.
We also have the story of the Iranians expelled for taking suspicious photos in New York.
And this one:
Police fear five empty suitcases left at Penn Station, New York FBI headquarters and other security hot spots in early April were a test by terrorists bent on a Madrid-type attack on commuter rails, The Post has learned.
A confidential Metropolitan Transit Authority police bulletin, titled “Possible Surveillance Testing Tactics,” reveals K-9 cops are on edge over a “suspicious packages pattern” they encountered between the last week of March and the first week of April.
Some of my friends argue that Iran and Syria are planning terrorism for deterrent rather than offensive purposes; given that they both have US troops on their border and are actively fighting the US (and Britain) in Iraq, they want to minimize the chance that the US would escalate by destabilizing their regimes (and unleashing the terrorists).
But Khamenei’s and Rafsanjani’s experience with the United States leaves them pretty sanguine about that risk, because every time we come up with some devastating bit of information on Iran, we immediately follow it with “but that doesn’t mean that the leaders knew about it, or that it was the actual policy of the regime.” You find half of bin Laden’s family and top assistants in Tehran? Not to worry, maybe the mullahs didn’t know. You discover that that 9/11 band crossed Iran and were assisted by the border guards and customs officials? Not to worry, that wasn’t necessarily the actual policy — this from the lips of the acting director of Central Intelligence on Fox News yesterday. Scores of Iranian intelligence agents are found in Iraq, some in the act of preparing bombs? Some bright bulb in the intelligence community puts out the line that Iran is actually helpful to us, and has actually restrained Hezbollah. We find Iranian involvement in the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia? The evidence is quashed by the Saudis, with the complicity of State and large sectors of the intelligence community.
So why should the men in the blood-soaked turbans fret over the consequences of aiding and abetting yet another murderous assault against Americans? I’m unfortunately betting on the second half of October, based on their happy experience with the Spanish elections last March.