British Jihadis Being Recruited To Blow Up Planes As Tribute To Osama Bin Laden

British jihadis in Syria are being recruited for suicide missions to blow up airliners over western cities in 'tribute to Osama bin laden'

‘Tribute’: Pakistan-based Khorasan group, linked to Al-Qaeda, is said to be planning a spectacular attack over a major city, ‘in tribute’ to Osama Bin Laden
Britons fighting for militant groups in Syria are being targeted to smuggle explosives on to Western airliners and become suicide bombers as Al Qaeda plan a spectacular attack over a major city, intelligence officials warn.

The Pakistan-based, Iranian-backed Khorasan group linked to Al Qaeda is said to have sent members to ’embed’ with affiliated terror groups to identify British, European and United States passport holders who could slip through security and carry a bomb on to a plane.

The terror group’s allies in Yemen have been working on developing an ‘undetectable’ bomb that could be implanted inside the body of an operative as well as other devices that allows him or her to pass through airport security and scanners.

Senior intelligence officials in the Afghan capital Kabul say the operation has been ordered by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman with the first choice target US cities followed by those such as London and Paris.

It would be seen as a ‘tribute’ to Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader killed by US Seals in Pakistan in May 2011, who oversaw the devastating Twin Towers airline suicide attacks on the US landmarks in September 2001.

The so-called Khorasan Group is reported to be made-up of some 50-60 veteran militants from Afghanistan and Pakistan and has established a site inside Syria that is being used to train operatives and ‘introduce, develop and perfect external attacks.’

The militants are thought to have embedded themselves within Al Qaeda’s local affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, which is said to have British and other Western fighters and taken over land and buildings in its strongholds.

There are believed to be between 50-100 Britons inside Syria but not with Islamic State.

‘It has been a goal of those in the Arabian Peninsula for some time to develop a ‘hidden bomb’ and evidence now points towards them actively targeting recruits to take a device on to passenger aircraft,’ a senior official in Kabul said yesterday.

‘Their ideal is to identify and train a Western passport holder who is not known to us (the intelligence or security community) so they can transport a device on to a plane and explode it mid-air, preferably from their standpoint over a significant city.

‘As such a British passport holder with no history or known links to these groups would be an ideal. Some are known to be in the region, we believe with Nusra, but it is a step up to agree to such a task.

‘We believe they have been actively looking for some time for the right person while in parallel they have been working on ways of slipping through the net at airports with a device.’

He pointed out that British recruits had carried out a number of suicide attacks inside Syria although these were in the name of IS while the four London transport bombers were all prepared to die as part of their operation.

‘There will be those who are prepared and suitable for what they want to try and achieve,’ he said.

Significantly, it was the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that made the bomb carried in his underwear by former London student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day 2009 which he tried to detonate en-route between Holland and the United States.

Classified US intelligence assessments have said the Khorasan Group was collaborating with AQAP to test ways to smuggle explosives past airport security.

The underpants bomb and device found aboard the cargo plane at East Midlands Airport in 2010 were said to have been the work of Saudi master bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, 33, who has been developing techniques to by-pass airport security.

Members of the Al-Nusra Front take part in a protest against Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad in Aleppo, September 2014. Khorasan Group is said to have embedded itself within Al Qaeda affiliated group Al-Nusra, and taken over land and buildings in its stronghold
US officials say the intelligence that Asiri might be helping the Khorasan Group was the reason the Transportation Security Administration decided in July to ban uncharged mobile phones and laptops from flights to the US originating in Europe and the Middle East.

Last month the US used a drone strike to kill the group’s leader Muhsin al-Fadhli, a 33-year-old Kuwaiti, who was said to be leading the identification and recruitment of potential Westerners.

Said to have been a confidante of Osama Bin Laden, he was one of the few operatives to receive advanced warning of the 11 September 2001 attacks, US officials say, adding they believe the group poses the same ‘danger’ as Islamic State.

Security was stepped-up at European and US airports again earlier this year when Al Qaeda published detailed instructions on how to use a ‘hidden bomb’ to blow up a passenger jet.

In an issue of its online magazine, Inspire, the group outlined how to make the bomb from household goods and without using metal components that would show up in airport security checks.

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Source: David Williams In Kabul For Mailonline Contributed

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