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Osama trove: Oil tankers were target

The terror group al-Qaeda last summer considered hijacking and detonating oil tankers in non-Muslim seas to provoke an “extreme economic crisis’’ in the West.

Written by Associated Press | Washington |
May 21, 2011 12:31:05 am

The terror group al-Qaeda last summer considered hijacking and detonating oil tankers in non-Muslim seas to provoke an “extreme economic crisis’’ in the West,according to documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan,the US government said.

It said there was no specific or imminent threat and that officials don’t know whether al-Qaeda had continued the plotting since last year. In a confidential warning obtained,the FBI and the Homeland Security Department said that al-Qaeda sought information on the size and construction of oil tankers,and determined that blowing them up from the inside would be easiest due to the strength of their hulls. Al-Qaeda recommended test runs of the plot.

“We are not aware of indications of any specific or imminent terrorist attack plotting against the oil and natural gas sector overseas or in the US,’’ DHS spokesman Matthew Chandler said in a statement Friday. “However,in 2010 there was continuing interest by members of al-Qaeda in targeting oil tankers and commercial oil infrastructure at sea.’’

Another US official,who was briefed on the documents,described the plot as aspirational and not fully formed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity. The government warning went to federal,state and local law enforcement and companies in the oil and gas industries.

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