In Brief...World News Review: Australia Now a "Prime Target"

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In Brief...World News Review

Australia Now a "Prime Target"

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Australia is a key target in a new wave of attacks being planned by al Qaeda, with Australian intelligence agencies warning that the Bali investigation had caught only the "footsoldiers" in a global terror network. An Australian official said that key people are still out there and they are dangerous.

Recent intelligence reports suggest that al Qaeda has advanced plans for strikes that involve a series of linked attacks in Australia, Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

Based on the new information, the Australian government made its dramatic revelation about credible evidence of a possible terrorist attack within the next few months. It indicates that Australia and its interests abroad are now primary targets—along with the United States and Israel—of al Qaeda and its regional subsidiary, Jemaah Islamiah.

The alert is believed to have been based on information from regional telecommunications surveillance and supporting intelligence by the United States and Britain.

That warning has been strengthened by the most recent audiotape, attributed to Osama bin Laden, which declared: "We had warned Australia about its participation in Afghanistan. It ignored the warning until it woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali."

"The information is generic but it is sufficiently credible to give us real concerns," a senior regional security official said. "There are even time frames being talked about.

"There is significant activity being monitored internationally and there is a possibility of groups and individuals linking up. It's not just a regional thing."

—Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.