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Warnings of possible Middle East hijackings

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Warnings of possible Middle East hijackings

Old 7th Nov 2003, 12:30
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Warnings of possible Middle East hijackings

Warnings of possible Middle East hijackings

November 7, 2003 - 10:42AM

The US State Department updated its warning on travel to the Middle East today to say that ships and planes could be hijacked in the region.

"Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, hijackings or kidnappings. These may also involve commercial aircraft and maritime interests," it said in a public announcement replacing one issued on September 30.

The possible threat to ships and planes covered the whole of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, it said.

The State Department has already warned Americans of such threats in East Africa and in Iraq, where the United States is fighting guerrillas opposed to the US occupation.

A State Department official said: "We have a reason for doing this. Without going into details, we have information so we felt we should advise the travelling public."

The warning reminds US citizens that travelling to the Middle East can be dangerous but it does not advise them to stay away from all areas.

littlepuddlejumper is offline  
Old 7th Nov 2003, 18:37
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Interesting post LPJ........especially as the link is in Australia and the story relates to the US State Department. Any info from the US relating to this?
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Old 7th Nov 2003, 20:47
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Arrow Yip

Have a look here


Or here for other warnings



JJflyer is offline  
Old 7th Nov 2003, 23:01
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Is this thread title redundant?
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Old 8th Nov 2003, 19:07
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The possible threat to ships and planes covered the whole of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, it said.
I don't think so, Bubbette.
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Old 8th Nov 2003, 20:17
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MSNBC is specifying cargo aircraft:

Terror Threat for Cargo Airlines

Nov. 7 — Al-Qaida terrorists could soon use cargo planes to attack targets in the United States, U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday, citing new intelligence indicating a threat similar to the one that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes in New York and Washington. At the same time, “credible” information that terrorists in Saudi Arabia were closer to carrying out attacks there led the U.S. Embassy to close all U.S. missions in the kingdom beginning Saturday. FEW DETAILS were immediately available about the new intelligence, which did not include specific times or locations, U.S. officials told NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski on condition of anonymity, but they stressed that they were taking the threat seriously.
The officials said the most imminent threats were aimed at U.S. targets overseas, but they said they could not rule out the possibility of an attack on U.S. soil. They said the threat was strikingly similar to the plot in which 19 al-Qaida operatives hijacked four U.S. jetliners and flew three of them into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon a little more than two years ago.
Officials at the Homeland Security Department said they had no immediate plans to raise the national threat level, which is currently at “yellow,” or “elevated,” but the department planned to issue an advisory to local law enforcement agencies, state homeland security officers and private industry, including airlines.
U.S. officials told NBC News’ Carl Rochelle on condition of anonymity that al-Qaida was also believed to be behind the threat to U.S. installations in Saudi Arabia, as well as U.S. “commercial and maritime” installations in the region.
The U.S. Embassy in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, said in a warden message on its Web site Friday that the missions in Riyadh, Jiddah and Dhahran would close to assess their “security posture.” They will then advise the U.S. community when the review is completed and when the missions plan to resume normal operations.
Americans in the kingdom should be “vigilant when in any area that is perceived to be American or Western,” the message said, warning: “The Embassy continues to receive credible information that terrorists in Saudi Arabia have moved from the planning to operational phase of planned attacks in the kingdom.”
Saudi police uncovered a cell Monday believed linked to al-Qaida in the holy city of Mecca. Police believe the cell had planned to carry out attacks during Ramadan.
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Old 8th Nov 2003, 20:47
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Thanks JJFlyer.

I guess things have a progressed a little since LPJ's original message.

Hope all the freight dogs stay safe. More info here.

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Old 9th Nov 2003, 02:43
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The idea of a cargo jet being hijacked is not impossible and as one or two pointed out easier than passenger jets in many circumstances.

But as I watch reports on the TV news of this co called plot to hijack cargo jets and fly them into strategic sites in America and elsewhere. I can't help thinking just who is perpetuating this fiction? Al Qaeda attempting to strike fear in the West or certain security agencies attempting to keep up the tension for their own ends?

This may scare the general public but how can any of us who know anything about the working of aircraft and ATC think it's possible post September 11th?

Let's assume someone hijacks a cargo jet. Now what? They kill the crew and take over themselves. Then they fly the aircraft on it's original flight plan until the magic moment when they peel off and dive into the Boulder dam or Three Mile Island or the White House or Ten Downing Street. Several aircraft can be hijacked simultaneously a la 911 for maximum damage.

To do that you need the hijackers to be competent and experienced airliner pilots, at least one on each flight because unlike 911 they need to fly a long way under positive ATC control without arousing suspicions. Still that's possible but then you need to get to your target while the Air Force is otherwise occupied. They might get lucky but most will meet their fate at the end of an Amraam. Those that make it to the target have to navigate precisely while avoiding the attentions of Fighters and then accurately dive into their target assuming they can see it and the day is as clear and bright as September 11th in New York city.

I don't know if I would buy a ticket to that 'movie' because it strains my credulity to the maximum. Sure, all it takes is for one aircraft to get through, as someone will no doubt point out or perhaps even the fact that the attempt is made will be enough.

But the point is that it's all very unlikely and the product of a bad fiction novelist. I know that, so do you and so do any potential hijackers.

In my opinion it's simply a scare story being perpetuated by someone with an agenda. Anyone reading Aviation Week lately would get plenty of inspiration.

Security on cargo flights is an issue but this is just a scary story.
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Old 9th Nov 2003, 04:49
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All your points, Steepclimb, appear (to this layperson) well worth taking into account, even beyond the fact that an airliner brought a very long distance would now have little fuel left so it would be a much less effective weapon - unless it were transporting fuel in the first place in which case it would have plenty remaining, its entire cargo.

But although I am not a pilot and have no expertise whatsoever in counterterrorism, may I speculate, as I have done on another thread, http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthr...0&pagenumber=5 ,
that the terrorists might, in the near term or longer term, use an aircraft not as a fuel bomb or brute force impact vehicle but rather, as a means to transport a nuclear device. In that case the parameters could be quite different.

Evidently the intelligence services don't think Osama & Co. have current access to any nuclear weapons. But shouldn't this potential threat become part of the broad public discussion starting now? Shouldn't we begin to think about how to counter this over the long term? If the WTC/Pentagon attacks were "unthinkable", can you imagine something 300 times worse, such as a 5xHiroshima-class device over Wall Street or Times Square? Shouldn't we be devoting 80% of our anti-terrorism resources to this (and other nuclear scenarios)? Aren't the rest - even the radiological "dirty bomb" - microscopic by comparison?

It worries me that no one appears to be considering the hijack threat in this nuclear context. If I'm speaking out of place, or if I am being too alarmist, anyone is welcome to let me know.
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Old 9th Nov 2003, 09:15
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Anyone been following CNN this evening/morning/afternoon?

The Riyahd bomb just showed that al Qa'ida aren't beyond placing Semtex anywhere! Cargo aircraft are extremely vulnerable, as are all aer-e-ospace vehicles.

The fact that the terrorists are now targeting ex-pat Arabs in "the land of the two holy mosques" ought to make ALL of us a bit more aware of security around our trusty steeds.

If this was a case of mistaken identity (CNN mentioned the compound used to be Boeing), then al Qa'ida really needs to update their Intel......but CNN noting that a single 747 holds more fuel than all four 911 airplanes, certainly doesn't help. BTW, that doesn't quite add up.

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