In a lengthy report, the Brookings Institution revealed a plot by Al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden at the time, who was planning to strike targets in Tel Aviv after the September 11 attacks that shocked America greatly.
Al-Qaeda and targets in Tel Aviv
“Bruce Riedel,” an expert in the field of intelligence, and in an article on the site entitled “The Tel Aviv plot,” indicated that American investigators had reached information in this regard according to new declassified documents.
The writer claimed that they reached the details of the plot without resorting to torture and waterboarding methods, which weakens the argument that the use of these methods was necessary to obtain information from those suspected of involvement in terrorism.
Riddell said the declassified information came as a result of the first investigation of a presumed al-Qaeda operative arrested after the 9/11 attacks.
It offers a new insight into the thinking and plans of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was planning a second operation on a base like the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
According to the translation of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, the writer believes that bin Laden’s plans are commensurate with his great interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the United States’ support for Israel.
‘Attack was thwarted at the last minute’
He pointed out that the aforementioned attack, which was planned, was thwarted at the last minute.
Riddle wondered why this information appeared after 20 years.
He replied that the source of the information was Zain al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, known as Abu Zubaydah. And who was arrested in March 2002 in Pakistan.
Abu Zubaydah is a Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia and is believed to have played a role in preparing the necessary travel documents for a number of al-Qaeda operatives.
According to Riedel, he was not technically part of the implementation team, but he was familiar with most of the information related to the planning.
In the first minute of interrogation after his arrest, Abu Zubaydah exploded, saying that he was working on a plan to carry out subsequent attacks targeting nightclubs in Israel and causing hundreds of deaths. It was a novelty for the US intelligence community.
“The Black Banners”
The investigator was FBI agent Ali Soufan, a Lebanese-American who spoke Arabic fluently.
He wrote about the investigation in his book Black Banners: How Torture Frustrated the Post-9/11 War on Terror.
Soufan believes that Abu Zubaydah had the wrong impression that Soufan was an agent of the Israeli Mossad, because he spoke Arabic.
The name of the target country was omitted in the book based on a national security review prior to publication. It has been defined as a “strong ally of the United States”.
It is now clear that the country in question is Israel.
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According to Abu Zubaydah, the plan was bin Laden’s personal project and he was interested in it. It began before the 9/11 attacks after al-Qaeda received a donation of 100,000 from a Saudi source and promised to get more money if the first plot succeeded.
According to the writer, Soufan does not know much about the money, but the planning continued even after the arrest of a senior official who fled after the attacks from Afghanistan to Iran. It was Palestinians who would carry out the suicide attacks, and the attack was inevitable.
It is noteworthy that in March 2002, Israel was in the midst of a second intifada, and Hamas carried out a guerrilla attack in Netanya, in which 30 Israelis were killed.
Had al-Qaeda carried out several attacks, the situation would have been more dangerous. And the Israelis who arrested the participants in the plot were informed before it was carried out
Abu Zubaydah may have had the impression that the plot had been discovered and that those involved in it had revealed his name and had reached the CIA.
Riddell says that the plot was covered up because it showed that the FBI was able to obtain information from Abu Zubaydah without resorting to torture or subjecting him to waterboarding.
This would have undermined the view of Vice President Dick Cheney, who believed that torture was necessary to extract information. According to the author
It was also a cover-up in order to justify the use of torture. The Israelis had an interest in keeping the information confidential because they were unwilling to reveal the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The writer says that in fact, bin Laden wanted the attacks to take place in June 2001, and during the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the time, the White House to emphasize the Israeli bond.
The implementers were not ready as the date was set in September. The information about the Tel Aviv plot was kept secret until it was revealed by a court decision in New York, and Soufan spoke about it to Israeli newspapers.
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