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Monday, November 24, 2003

In case you're not depressed yet this morning

Al Qaida: Countdown for "biggest operation yet inside America"

DEBKA:Monday, November 24, Al Qaeda marked Eid al Fitr, the festival closing the Muslim festival of Ramadan, with a dramatic warning. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources reports that a message published over al Qaeda’s electronic channels and websites declared that the countdown has begun for the biggest operation ever carried out in the United States. “The big blow will fall very shortly. It will consist of a series of surprise attacks that will cut America off from communication with its armies in Muslim countries.” The reference is clearly to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The largest number, around 115,000 soldiers, is present in Iraq.

Muslims living in the United States are urged to “take advantage of the short time left” to escape the country and harm’s way.

Some of the messages say that a new Osama bin Laden videotape will soon be out. It will also carry statements by al Qaeda members who executed the last suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia and adherents who died in clashes with Saudi security. They will be shown describing how they were prepared for action. Bin Laden will intersperse these cuts with comments explaining the selection of Saudi targets.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that some of the new messages are signed by Abu Assam al Yamani, who also threatens to murder Abdul Rahman Rashid, editor of the Saudi London-based paper Sharq al Awsat. Al Yamani says the al Qaeda passed sentence of death against the editor because he not only met President George W. Bush in the British capital last week but interviewed him and appeared with the president in a joint photo.