Lebanon fears Qaeda has UNIFIL forces in sights
Security officials say terrorists infiltrating country through Syria with aim of damaging Lebanese, western interests; report says Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states surprised by ease in which Qaeda organized botched attack on Detroit-bound plane, fear similar attacks in their territory
Lebanese security officials said Wednesday that they have received information indicating that al-Qaeda is looking to infiltrate the country with the aim of targeting UNIFIL forces and damage Lebanese and western interests.
The officials told Radio Sawa - an Arabic language radio station that is funded by the United States Congress - that Qaeda operatives arriving from Pakistan and other Muslim countries are infiltrating Lebanon through the Syrian border. The sources said Lebanon is constantly monitoring the operatives' movement.
London-based Arabic newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported that intelligence agencies in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states fear a rise in al-Qaeda's power and were surprised by the ease in which the group's wing in Yemen was able to organize the botched Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound airliner.
The fears stem from the fact that the terror group was able to develop explosives capable of blowing up a plane out of common liquid materials that are difficult to detect.
The Arab countries' intelligence services fear that al-Qaeda may attempt to carry out attacks in their territory as well.
Al-Qaeda has instructed its operatives to attack Arab embassies and bases in the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf to avenge the death of terrorists in recent aerial strikes carried out by the US and Yemen.
Another cause for concern is the incitement in mosques throughout Yemen against the US and countries that cooperate with it, as well as the possibility that al-Qaeda will recruit Yemen nationals residing in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia.
Yemen's ability to contain al-Qaeda's activities within its territory is limited.