Terror group reveals cost of parcel bombs


WASHINGTON — Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), suspected of sending parcel bombs in a narrowly foiled attempt to destroy cargo aircraft, has issued a detailed account of the plot, according to a U.S.-based terrorism watchdog group. IntelCenter, a non-governmental organization that monitors jihadist militant groups, reported late Saturday that AQAP has published purported details of last month’s parcel plot in its English-language online magazine, Inspire. It described the plot as “Operation Hemorrhage” and said it was conducted at a cost of US$4,200. In a “strategy of a thousand cuts,” the group vowed smaller, more frequent attacks on U.S. targets. “We have never seen a jihadist group in the al-Qaida orbit ever release, let alone only a few weeks after, such a detailed accounting of the philosophy, operational details, intent and next steps following a major attack,” IntelCenter chief executive Ben Venzke said. “This may represent a new level of interaction by jihadi groups following an operation and is a far cry from the days of shadowy claims and questions as to who was actually responsible.” Venzke said that AQAP is likely to “follow through with additional innovative and varied strikes.” The Yemeni-based AQAP differs from the so-called core al-Qaida, which prefers to mount spectacular, more difficult attacks that have proven difficult since the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes in the U.S. “To bring down America we do not need to strike big,” AQAP wrote. “In such an environment of security phobia that is sweeping America … the aim is to bleed the enemy to death.”

In another article from the latest edition of the group’s magazine, one member describes a strategy of economic damage, rather than human casualties, by forcing “the West to install stringent security measures sufficient enough to stop our explosive devices would add a heavy economic burden to an already faltering economy.” The October plot was disrupted, but the US$4,200 operation “will without a doubt cost America and other Western countries billions of dollars in new security measures. That is what we call leverage,” another AQAP member wrote. The group vowed to use additional devices for bombs, after explosive-laden printer cartridges were intercepted. AQAP also boasted of disseminating its bomb-making expertise “to the mujahedeen around the world.”