WASHINGTON: Osama bin Laden and top Al-Qaeda leadership are likely behind the latest European terror plot, US officials said on Friday.
The plot, revealed earlier this week, appeared to be in its early stages. It aimed to launch coordinated attacks in European capitals, with gunmen opening fire in Britain, Germany, France and possibly elsewhere.
European security sources have drawn comparisons to the brazen Mumbai attacks in 2008, which targeted city landmarks including luxury hotels and a cafe and killed around 170 people.
One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the origin of the plot in Pakistan’s tribal areas suggested the involvement of bin Laden and senior Al-Qaeda leaders, since that is where they are believed to be hiding.
The United States has stepped up targeted strikes on insurgents in Pakistan using unmanned drone aircraft, aiming to disrupt Al-Qaeda and its allies from plotting attacks.
US intelligence officials have stressed this week that Al-Qaeda, responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, has been clear in its intentions to strike the United States and Europe.
Indian security officials have linked the 10 Mumbai assailants, who used automatic weaopns and hand grenades, to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group with close ties to Al-Qaeda. —Reuters