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Al Qaeda alert in US for 9/11 anniversary

US security officials are looking into “specific, credible but unconfirmed” threat information of a terrorist strike in Washington or New York for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Yashwant Raj reports. Watch video

world Updated: Sep 10, 2011 02:04 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times

US security officials are looking into “specific, credible but unconfirmed” threat information of a terrorist strike in Washington or New York for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

There were reports of three suspects planning terrorist strikes on bridges and tunnels using explosive-laden vehicles. One of the suspects is said to have arrived in Washington from Afghanistan a month ago.

Officials are linking the threat information to a diary found at Osama bin Laden's compound, which referred to a plan for a strike on the 9/11 anniversary.

“As we know from the intelligence gathered from the OBL raid, AQ has shown an interest in important dates and anniversaries, such as 9/11,” said Matt Chandler of the Department of Homeland Security in a statement on Thursday. “In this instance, it’s accurate that there is specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information.”

There were reports that this “specific” information came from a walk-in at the US embassy in Islamabad. But the state department refused to comment, saying it won't on matters of intelligence.

Security has been stepped in both the US capital and New York. Watch video

Police checkpoints popped up at many places in New York as the city prepared for the anniversary event on Sunday, which will also be attended by President Barack Obama.

The president was briefed about the threat on Thursday morning, said officials.

While there have been attempts — Times Square in 2010 — the US has prevented the repeat of a mass casualty terrorist strike after 9/11.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton cited the Times Square incident as the reason for the administration to go public with the information this time.

“Remember, we were very fortunate to foil the Times Square bomber because a food vendor saw something suspicious,” she said. “We want people to go on with their daily lives, get out, get around, but keep your eyes open.”

First Published: Sep 10, 2011 00:50 IST