Iran has established an “operational relationship” with al-Qaida’s core leadership amid fears the terror organization is planning a spectacular attack against the West, according to a troubling new report.
Sky News reports that the attack could come in retaliation for the killing of Osama bin-Laden last year, or as retaliation for any strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. And a likely target of the terrorist attack would be the Olympic Games to be held this summer in London.
Iran has been supplying al-Qaida with training in the use of advanced explosives, funding, and a safe haven “as part of a deal first worked out in 2009 which has now led to ‘operational capacity,’” the Sky News website disclosed.
Some Western intelligence agencies have been skeptical of an alliance between Iran and al-Qaida. But last year the Obama administration directly accused Iran of supporting the terrorist group, a report by the intelligence analysis organization LIGNET revealed in August.
At that time, the United States sanctioned six alleged al-Qaida operatives and accused Iran of allowing them to operate in Iran to conduct operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
One of those six was a Syrian known as Yasin al-Sura, leader of al-Qaida in Iran, LIGNET reported.
The Obama administration last year offered a $10 million reward for information leading to al-Sura’s whereabouts, and Iran responded by placing him in protective custody, sources told Sky News.
The website reported that top al-Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri is now “believed to be planning a ‘classic’ al-Qaida attack, simultaneously on multiple locations.”
One source told Sky News: “We do know that an operation is underway. We assess that the most likely target is to be European. And the most obvious target in Europe for an attack that would attract a lot of attention would be the Olympic Games.”
A secret intelligence memo seen by Sky News noted: “Against the background of intensive cooperation over recent months between Iran and al-Qaida, with a view to conducting a joint attack against Western targets overseas, Iran has significantly stepped up its investment, maintenance and improvement of operational and intelligence ties with the al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan in recent months.”
The intelligence sources also told Sky News that Iran’s link to al-Qaida is “most likely to be used in revenge for any military strikes against Iran’s nuclear capacities. Iran wants to be able to say, ‘We can hit you back.’”
But one source warned: “The danger is that Iran and al-Qaida may be keen to show this capacity ahead of any attacks on Iran, as a kind of warning.”
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