Al Qaeda group behind plot to `poison` food in US: Report
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 19:25
Washington: The al Qaeda group blamed for failed attempt to blow up cargo planes in the US recently is also believed to be behind a plot to "poison" food in a number of American hotels, local media reported on Wednesday.

The al Qaeda group that built two toner-cartridge bombs in an unsuccessful attempt to blow up planes in October also has contemplated spreading poison on salad bars and buffets at US hotels and restaurants, CNN reported quoting US intelligence officials.

Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed to CNN that the they have received information "the group - al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - was considering the tactic of placing ricin and cyanide poisons into food supplies".

However, the officials sought to downplay the threat -- first reported by CBS News -- saying it was months old, and that it was more in the nature of a discussion of "tactics" than an actual plot.

"We're talking months, not weeks (ago), that this came into the threat stream," an official said.

US officials, according to the report, met through regular channels with representatives of the hotels and restaurants to discuss the possibility that terrorists could target the food supply, and to reiterate "best practices" to ensure the food supply is safe.

Yesterday, CBS News reported that US authorities have unearthed a terrorist plot to "poison" food in a number of restaurants and hotels in the country. A key Intelligence source has told CBS News that the threat was "credible."

In a statement, Homeland Security Department spokesman Sean Smith said, "Indeed, (al Qaeda) has publicly stated its intention to try to carry out unconventional attacks for well over a decade, and AQAP propaganda in the past year has made similar reference.

"Finally, we get reports about the different kinds of attacks terrorists would like to carry out that frequently are beyond their assessed capability."


First Published: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 19:25

Tag: Al QaedaUSpoison
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