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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 15, 2003

The sum of all fears

This article in Jewsweek states that "Increased chatter has indicated that Al Qaeda may be preparing to attack Jewish targets and possibly assassinate Jewish leaders. Are we just sitting ducks?"
[...]A few hours after the Justice Department press conference, Newsweek Magazine reported on its Web site that the threat alert was raised after new intelligence reports pointed to the possibility of multiple, imminent attacks by Al Qaeda against Jewish groups and Jewish-owned businesses in the United States. There was no information on specific targets, but officials said the volume of threats relating to Jewish interests was worrying.

Indeed, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge confirmed the rumors. "It's appropriate to draw the conclusion that Jewish groups are a target," he said.

According to Newsweek, the FBI sent word late Friday afternoon to synagogues to up security measures throughout the Sabbath. Most synagogues did little more than alert the same local beat cop who has been sitting at their entranceway since 9/11.

Assassination attempt possible
While researching this story, sources inside the Justice Department told Jewsweek that the fact Jewish groups were being targeted was not the headline and that there is a new front on Al Qaeda's war against America. Rather than go after symbolic targets such as the Pentagon or the Golden Gate Bridge which are becoming increasingly more protected, Al Qaeda operatives are targeting what are called "softer targets". The increased chatter and phone intercepts have indicated that these soft targets could well include synagogues, as well as assassination attempts on well-known civic and religious leaders. [more]