New campaign against terror has begun, US says


Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 1

The Bush administration said on Wednesday that the US and its allies had begun a campaign to disrupt terrorist operations around the world, including the arrest of a suspected senior member of al-Qaeda in the UK.

The suspected al-Qaeda operative was among 12 men being questioned by UK authorities after raids prompted in part by the same intelligence information that led the administration to elevate the terror threat level in the US over the weekend, including detailed reports about buildings housing major financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington. The al-Qaeda member, referred to as Abu Mussa al-Hindi or Abu Eisa al-Hindi, was of intense interest to the US, a senior US official said.

A day after senior White House officials said the decision to raise the terror alert level on Sunday had been driven in part by new intelligence beyond the information about specific buildings in New York, New Jersey and Washington, the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, told reporters that "there are some ongoing operations under way" to disrupt terrorist activity.

It was not clear whether the arrests in the UK were directly linked to the apparent risk of an attack on the buildings or whether they were tied more generally to suspected al-Qaeda plotting in Pakistan and elsewhere. One senior official in Washington said there were "possibly" direct ties.

The official described the arrests as "part of this web that emanates from Pakistan."

Administration officials signaled that in light of the new information from Pakistan and the second strain of intelligence reporting, they had stepped up their efforts at home and abroad to track down suspected terrorists and guard against the possibility of an attack.

As new information came into the White House over the weekend, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice called her coun-terparts in several countries to request help from their intelligence services, an official said.

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