NY Daily News: Norwegian jihadist terror suspect plotting to blow up U.S. plane: report
Three European countries issued warnings last week saying that a convert to militant Islam had become 'operational,' meaning he was about to be given a target.
NY Daily News — by Helen Kennedy
The missing Norwegian jihadist trained by Al Qaeda to evade airport security is plotting to blow up an American plane, a newspaper in London reported.
The Sunday Times of London portrayed the plot as an attack on the upcoming London Olympics, but said the target was supposed to be a U.S. jet.
The paper gave no other details.
Last week, security officials in three European countries told the press they were concerned about a Norwegian convert to militant Islam who had been trained in Yemen and had become “operational” — meaning he was about to receive his marching orders.
They described the man as in his 30s, with no immigrant background — an unusual factor, given that most of the radicalized Westerners who fall under Al Qaeda’s sway are the children of immigrants from Muslim countries.
They declined to name the man, who has not committed a crime. That is why he is so attractive to terror recruiters, they said.
“Not even a parking ticket,” one official told The Associated Press last week. “He’s completely clean, and he can travel anywhere.”
The Sunday Times said the man goes by the nom de guerre Muslim Abu Abdurrahman.
Officials have said he converted to Islam in 2008 and quickly became radicalized.
He sought Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — the terror network’s most vital surviving offshoot in Yemen — to undergo terror training.
He was believed to still be in Yemen, preparing his attack.
American security officials did not comment on last week’s report, or on Sunday’s news.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said he has not been briefed about the alleged terror plot but noted that it’s the type of threat that most worries the intelligence community.
“The scenario is one that we have been concerned about: Al Qaeda recruiting light-skinned, northern Europeans, someone raised a Christian, with nothing in their background that would jump out,” he said.
Arfan Qadeer Bhatti, a prominent Norwegian Islamist of Pakistani extraction who was convicted of shooting at an Oslo synagogue, told the Norwegian newspaper VG that he knows who the missing man is, but that they are not in contact.
Imams in Oslo said they had no idea who he was and speculated that he was radicalized abroad.
Norway’s most serious terrorist attack was carried out one year ago by right-wing anti-Muslim extremist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people, most of them teenagers he hunted on a bucolic, wooded island.
Al Qaeda has been repeatedly frustrated in its efforts to attack U.S. interests by good intelligence work.
In May, a plot to blow up a U.S. plane was foiled when the would-be suicide bomber turned out to be a double agent who stole the bomb.