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Al Qaeda group behind plot to `poison` food in US: Report

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

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