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article imageAuthorities in New York fear a 'dirty bomb' in al Qaeda plot

By Michael Krebs     Sep 10, 2011 in World
New York Police Department and counter-terrorism authorities set up checkpoints and combed through travel data on Friday, searching for three suspects and a possible 'dirty bomb.'
Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, authorities in New York and Washington DC were on high alert after receiving a "credible threat" that was also deemed to be "unconfirmed." The threat appears to be centered around the possibility of a car bomb, with particular concern for Times Square in the heart New York City's midtown which was the site of the last known car bomb attempt by a terrorist linked to Islamic causes.
Authorities are worried that the terrorist operatives could use a radiological "dirty bomb" this time around, according to a local CBS News report. A "dirty bomb" is defined as a conventional explosive device that is packed with common radioactive material, such as the waste discarded by hospitals and power plants.
Checkpoints were established throughout Manhattan, and vehicles and bags were inspected for traces of gunpowder and radiation. Radiation monitors have also been positioned in a 50-mile radius of New York City, throughout New Jersey and Connecticut. Police are also equipped with hand-held radiation detectors.
The threat is believed to have originated from a source in Pakistan and is considered very credible. Three al Qaeda-linked suspects are believed to be mobile within the United States; one is known to be a U.S. citizen and the other two are believed to have U.S. travel documents.
The plot appears to have been planned for some time and to have been assembled in coordination with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Bridges and tunnels linking Manhattan to its surrounding areas are considered prime targets for this attack, along with Times Square.
Washington DC is also on heightened alert, and national counter-terrorism teams were sifting through travel documents and airline passenger manifestos.
“We’re looking at travel records, times, dates that people may have traveled, passenger lists, itineraries,” a U.S. counter-terrorism official told the Washington Post. “All those things that would help to narrow down the type of person you might be looking for.”
More about Al qaeda, New york, Bomb, Car Bomb, Times square
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