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TA-THREATS: U.S. Warns of Attacks on Asia Shipping, Finance Hubs

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posted on Apr, 22 2004 @ 10:03 AM
U.S. Officials are warning that Asia shipping and financials centers could be targets for possible Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. The shipping lanes in the Malacca and Singapore straits are deemed especially vulnerable. Assaults by al Qaeda on commercial shipping in Yemen and the Arabian Sea and planned attacks in several straits, including the Strait of Gibraltar linking Spain and North Africa, showed that U.S. concerns are not simply theoretical. An terrorist attack in the straits or in a city like Hong Kong would severely cripple Asia's economy.

U.S. Warns of Attacks on Asia Shipping, Finance Hubs
"We have begun to focus on the potential of a disastrous maritime terrorist incident," Matthew Daley, deputy assistant secretary of state, told a security conference.
"We believe it essential to work with the countries of the region to rapidly improve maritime security," Daley said.

In Hong Kong, FBI director Robert Mueller said the city and commercial centers like it could be targets for al Qaeda and other terror groups seeking to inflict economic damage.

"Those where there are a number of Americans or American companies have to be alert to the possibility of terrorist attacks," Mueller said.

"Hong Kong is one of the principal transit points in the world. People come through, monies comes through, and it's important that...persons be alert to the abuse of the systems for terrorism, organized crime or other threats," Mueller said.

"We know that terrorists in Southeast Asia are increasingly turning to soft targets. Moreover, as both the physical and political space in which they find sanctuary shrinks -- as the noose tightens -- we have good reason to believe terrorists will increasingly turn to the most unregulated of spaces -- the sea."

Related ATSNN Articles:
Eight U.S. Allies Targeted for Terror by April 30th says New Group

[Edited on 4-22-2004 by worldwatcher]


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