The next terrorist attack on the United States - a "nuclear hell storm"

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The next terrorist attack on the United States - a "nuclear hell storm" planned for seven major cities - is set to occur this month. That's the word from al-Qaida. In a communiqué to Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the top al-Qaida lieutenant in Iraq, mentions the "Great Ramadan Offensive" that will create a "fateful confrontation" with the United States and Israel.

"I think that the plans for the next stage of the jihad has reached you or will reach you in a few days," Zarqawi writes in the letter. "O God, make the plans of Osama come to fruition!" The communiqué, dated May 30, was intercepted by CIA officials and remains on the Global Information System database that is accessible only to government officials with high-security clearance.

Most U. S. intelligence officials dismissed Zarqawi's letter as wishful thinking until Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's second in command, appeared on al-Jazeera, the official television network of Saudi Arabia, to deliver a message to the American people. In the message, which was broadcast Aug. 8, al-Zawahiri said: "What you have seen, O Americans, in New York and Washington and the losses you are having in Afghanistan and Iraq, in spite of the blackouts by your media, are only the losses of the initial clashes. ...

You will soon experience horrors that will make you forget the horrors you have encountered in Vietnam." The al-Qaida chieftain went on to say: "Jihadist forces have been established in all of Western Europe to defend the powerless within the nation. For the crimes that the Crusaders have committed against the Muslims will be reaped by Christians and Jews throughout the Western world."

Zawahiri's video messages are viewed by intelligence officials as telling signs that a terrorist attack is imminent. His televised message Sept. 6, 2004, took place before the December 6, 2004, bombing of the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, while his message of June 17, 2005, preceded the London bombings. Concerns about an October attack were heightened even more by reports that the radical Islamic community viewed the ravages of hurricanes Katrina and Rita as signs that Allah was pleased with the plans for "the American Hiroshima." "Allah has punished America with winds and water," one imam is quoted in the GIS report as saying.

Another imam reportedly quipped that America, as evidenced by the natural disasters, is "under the curse of the Jews." Christopher Brown, research associate with the Hudson Institute's Transitions to Democracy project, maintains that the hurricanes have presented al-Qaida with a unique strategic opportunity. "If this attack is launched soon," Brown said, "the devastation to the American economy alone could easily far exceed that of the September 11 attacks and could be equivalent to the detonation of a small nuclear device on American soil."

Ramadan represents the ninth month of the Islamic year, the month in which the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. According to Muslim tradition, the actual revelation occurred on the night between the 26th and 27th days of the month. On this "Night of Determination," Allah determines the fate of the world for the coming year. The fate of the world for the next Islamic year, if bin Laden has his way, will include the nuclear destruction of the United States.

Bin Laden has been amassing nuclear weapons and materials since 1992, when he was in the Sudan. This was substantiated by the testimony of al-Qaida officials in federal court during the hearings of "The U.S. v. Osama bin Laden." When he returned to Afghanistan, bin Laden purchased tactical nuclear weapons from the Chechen Mafia. News of the sale was confirmed by Saudi, Israeli, British, Saudi and Russian intelligence and reported in The Times of London, the Jerusalem Report, Al Watan al-Arabi, Muslim Magazine, Al-Majallah (London's Saudi weekly) and by the BBC.

In 1997, bin Laden made additional small nuclear weapons from materials bought not only from the Chechens but also black market sources in Russia, China, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine. In 1998, he purchased large quantities of highly enriched uranium from Simeon Mogilevich, a Ukrainian arms dealer. For one delivery of fifteen kilos of uranium-236, Mogilevich was paid $70 million. Bin Laden also purchased several bars of enriched uranium-138 from Ibrahim Abd, an Egyptian arms dealer and several Congolese opposition soldiers.

From 1999 to 2001, bin Laden hired scientists and technicians from the A.Q. Khan Research Facility in Pakistan not only to build new nukes from the highly enriched uranium and plutonium but also to maintain, upgrade, reconfigure, and redesign his "off-the shelf" nukes, including nuclear mines, so that they could be packed into lightweight (less than eight pounds) suitcases and backpacks or molded into warheads that could be launched from 120 or 155 millimeter recoilless rifles.

Upon the arrests of Dr. Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Dr. Chaudry Abdul Majid, two top officials from the Khan facility, the CIA discovered that several of bin Laden's tactical nukes had been forward-deployed to the United States from Karachi. More information concerning al-Qaida's nukes came with the arrest in Pakistan of Sharif al-Masri, a key al-Qaida operative. Al Masri, an Egyptian national with close ties to al-Zawahiri, operative, informed CIA and ISI (Pakistani intelligence) officials that several tactical nukes for use in the American Hiroshima had been forward deployed to Mexico for transportation across the border by members of Mara Salvatrucha ("MS-13"), a Salvadoran street gang.

These developments caused both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry to speak of nuclear terrorism in the 2004 presidential campaign as "the single greatest danger facing the American people," and for Vice President Cheney to say that a nuclear attack from al-Qaeda appears "imminent."

The seven cities targeted by al-Qaida for nuclear destruction are New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

Several Islamic scholars say that Ramadan is an unlikely time for al-Qaida to strike since it is the holiest month of the year, a time in which Muslims traditionally refrain from warfare to spend time in fasting, meditation, and prayer. But many Islamic battles throughout history took place during Ramadan, including the following: 624 - The Battle of Badr occurred on 17 Ramadan when the Prophet Mohammed led his forces to victory over the Arabian tribes who opposed him. 627 - The Muslims trained for the Battle of Ditch during Ramadan 630 - The soldiers of Islam, under Mohammed, established a training camp in Tabouk during the month of fasting and attacked the Byzantine army. 653 - During Ramadan, the Muslim army conquered Rhodes and melted the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, into weapons for the soldiers. 1187 - The Battle of Hattin in which a combined force of Sunnis and Shiites destroyed the Christian army occurred the morning after the "Night of Determination." 1973 - On Oct. 6, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a surprise offensive against Israel to launch the Yom Kippur or the 10th of Ramadan War. 2000 - Al-Qaida launches the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbor Yemen. The attack of Oct. 5 kills 17 and wounds 39 American sailors.

In 2001, Dr. Fuad Mukheimar, secretary-general of the Egyptian Sharia Association, published an article in which he encouraged bin Laden to launch an attack against the U.S. during the holy month. "During the month of Ramadan," Mukheimar wrote, "a great Muslim victory was won over the Crusaders under the leadership of Saladin. His advisers counseled him to rest from the jihad during the month of fasting, but Saladin insisted on continuing the jihad during Ramadan because he knew ... that fasting helps to [achieve] victory, because during Ramadan the Muslims overcome themselves through fasting, and thus their victory over their enemies is certain." Bin Laden, who views himself as Saladin's successor, could opt to heed this advice. Ramadan began Tuesday, Oct. 4, and ends Nov. 2. The Night of Determination will occur Oct. 29.

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