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"NYC Security Surge, Worry of Body Bombs on Osama bin Laden Anniversary"
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
NYC Security Surge, Worry of Body Bombs on Osama bin Laden Anniversary
By BRIAN ROSS, RICHARD ESPOSITO and RHONDA SCHWARTZ
As officials in the U.S. and overseas are stepping up airport security
fearing terrorists could use a "body bomb" to target a U.S.-bound plane on
the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, New York City police are
planning a security surge of their own for all key transportation hubs
Wednesday, law enforcement officials told ABC News.
The officials said the surge is meant to add security for commuters in the
face of reports of potential threats even though the FBI and NYPD said there
are no known threats whatsoever centered on New York City.
ABC News reported late Monday that officials in the homeland and in Europe
feared terrorists could soon target a U.S.-bound flight with explosives
hidden inside their bodies. As a result, security at several airports in the
U.K. and elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East has been substantially
stepped up, with a focus on U.S. carriers.
Additional federal air marshals have also been shifted overseas in advance
of the anniversary.
A year ago Tuesday night, President Obama announced on live television that
bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. raid on a compound in Pakistan. Obama's
counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, said Monday that never-before seen
documents obtained by the U.S. military during the raid will be made
available online by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. The
Center's website said the release will occur Thursday morning.
Bombs Hidden in the Bodies of Terrorists
Medical experts say there is plenty of room in the stomach area of the body
for surgically implanted explosives. "The surgeon would open the abdominal
cavity and literally implant the explosive device in amongst the internal
organs," explained Dr. Mark Melrose, a New York emergency medicine
For the last year, U.S. and European authorities have publicly warned that
al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate, and
its master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, have been designing body bombs with
no metal parts to get past airport security.
"We are treating the information seriously," John Pistole, administrator of
the Transportation Security Administration, told ABC News in 2011.
Asiri placed a bomb inside the rectal cavity of his own brother for a
suicide mission aimed at Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Muhammad
bin Nayef in 2009. That bomb exploded prematurely, officials said, and the
only casualty was Asiri's brother 23-yearold brother Abdullah. Asiri is also
believed responsible for the "underwear bomb" with which Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 on Christmas 2009, and
for the printer bombs in the failed cargo bomb plot of 2010.
In public, U.S. officials say there is no credible information of an
impending attack. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Peter Boogaard
released a statement Monday evening saying, "We have no indication of any
specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year
anniversary of bin Laden's death."
But earlier Monday, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan
called the al Qaeda group in Yemen the greatest threat to the U.S.
"AQAP continues to be al Qaeda's most active affiliate, and it continues to
seek the opportunity to strike our homeland," said Brennan during a speech
at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.
Brennan said bin Laden admitted al Qaeda had lost its way, agreeing that "a
large portion" of Muslims around the world "have lost their trust" in al
Confessing to "disaster after disaster" in al Qaeda plots, Brennan said, bin
Laden urged leaders to feel to places "away from aircraft photography and
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