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Homeland Security

Al-Qaeda plotting to cripple world trade, says UK navy chief

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Aug 5, IRNA -- Al-Qa`eda and other terrorist groups are 
plotting to launch attacks on merchant shipping that could threaten 
world trade, according to Britain`s Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sir 
Alan West. 
"What we`ve noticed is that al-Qa`eda and other organizations have
an awareness about maritime trade. They`ve realized how important it 
is for world trade in general. They understand that significance," he 
said Thursday. 
Sea-borne terrorism could potentially cripple global trade and 
have grave knock-on effects on developed economies, the navy chief 
warned in a rare interview with shipping daily Lloyd`s List. 
The last reported terrorist threat to merchant shipping was the 
attack on the French supertanker Limburg off the Yemen coast in 
October 2002, which was blamed on al-Qaeda. 
Britain`s highest-ranking commander in the Royal Navy revealed 
that Western governments have intelligence that terrorists view 
shipping as an attractive target and have plans to blow up ships. 
"We`ve seen other plans from intelligence of attacks on merchant 
shipping. I can`t give you detail on any of that, clearly, but we are 
aware that they have plans and they`ve looked at this," he said. 
West suggested that the biggest risk to shipping was in ports and 
maritime choke points such as the Strait of Gibraltar and the Suez 
Canal, where ships concentrate in large numbers as they sail through 
narrow waterways. 
He highlighted the role that the Royal Navy and its `coalition` 
counterparts play in deterring maritime attacks, including in the 
Strait of Gibraltar, where merchant ships have been escorted by NATO 
since an al-Qaeda cell was arrested by Moroccan authorities. 

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