Wednesday, September 23, 2009

USA On Terror Alert

America went on heightened terror alert last night as it emerged up to 12 suspects are being probed over a New York bomb plot. Anti-terror chiefs have warned police across the US that stadiums, entertainment venues and hotels could be targeted. It follows earlier alerts that transport networks could be attacked. New York transport bosses have increased police patrols and officers in helmets and bulletproof vests were yesterday out in force at major depots such as Manhattan’s Grand Central station. Sean Smith, of the Department of Homeland Security, said: “While we and the FBI have no information regarding timing, location or target of any planned attack, we believe it is prudent to raise security awareness... regarding the targets and tactics of previous terrorist activity.” The bomb plot came to light last week when Afghanistan-born Najibullah Zazi, 24, was arrested in Denver, Colorado.Police believe he was plotting to detonate backpack bombs on New York trains. Backpacks and mobile phones were seized from New York apartments that Zazi visited. Investigators found bomb-making instructions that appear to match Zazi’s handwriting and also found his fingerprints on materials that could be used to make explosives. Zazi is also said to have received al-Qaeda training in Pakistan last year. He, his father Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53, and Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, are accused of lying to the government and could face eight years’ jail if guilty. But they could face more serious charges as the inquiry proceeds. It has also emerged that up to a dozen other individuals are being probed over the alleged plot. The FBI said that “several individuals in the US, Pakistan and elsewhere” were being investigated.