|2 Tishri 5762 19:14Tuesday September 18, 2001|
LONDON (September 17) - Mossad officials traveled to Washington last
month to warn the CIA and the FBI that a cell of up to 200 terrorists was
planning a major operation, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph
The paper said the Israeli officials specifically warned their counterparts in Washington that "large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent." They offered no specific information about targets, but they did link the plot to Afghanistan-based terrorist Osama bin Laden, and they told the Americans there were "strong grounds" for suspecting Iraqi involvement.
A US administration official told the paper that it was "quite credible" that the CIA did not heed the Mossad warning: "It has a history of being over-cautious about Israeli information." But the official noted that "if this is true, then the refusal to take it seriously will mean heads will roll."
In another development, the Sunday Times reported that an account at a branch of Barclays Bank in the London district of Notting Hill was used by a suspected bin Laden lieutenant to finance and disseminate Bin Laden's fatwas (religious rulings) and to maintain contacts with various elements in bin Laden's global network.
The account was held by Saudi dissident Khalid al-Fawwaz, who is currently being held in custody awaiting the outcome of extradition proceedings to the United States on charges of conspiring with bin Laden to murder Americans.
The Barclays account is understood to form part of a web of bank accounts and front companies used by bin Laden to underwrite his Al Qaida terror network.
Court documents link Fawwaz to a Bin Laden fatwa calling for the death of American civilians "anywhere in the world they can be found," which was faxed directly to him by Bin Laden.
Fawwaz was personally appointed by bin Laden to set up and run the London-based Advice and Reformation Committee. The organization was ostensibly dedicated to war-relief work, but British and US officials now believe it was in fact a component in Bin Laden's terror network.
Fawwaz is also thought to have been directly involved in the terrorist cell that perpetrated the simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998. More than 200 people died in those attacks.