May 07, 2012 12:32
One year before his death, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden considered attacking a U.S. facility in Korea, newly disclosed documents reveal. The U.S. government says it found the documents during the assassination of bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011 and published them on the website of the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on May 3.
The documents consist of 175 pages of Arabic originals and English translations of letters written by bin Laden to close aides from September 2006 until April 2011.
In a letter addressed to former al-Qaeda deputy leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahma in May 2010, bin Laden mentions Korea as a target for attack. "I would also like to seek your advice on an opinion as follows: whatever exceeds our capability or what we are unable to disburse on attacks inside America, as well as on the Jihad in open fronts, would be disbursed targeting American interests in non-Islamic countries first, such as South Korea," bin Laden writes according to the somewhat garbled translation. "We shall avoid carrying out attacks in Islamic countries except for the countries that fell under invasion and direct occupation."
This apparently means that it had become harder to strike the U.S. mainland due to tight security there and in the Middle East amid mounting discontent with al-Qaeda because so many Muslims were killed in terror attacks.
Although bin Laden does not specify the "American interests" he wanted to target in Korea, Japan's Kyodo news agency said the U.S. Army bases in Korea would have been the likeliest targets. The U.S. has pledged to make more documents found at the Abottabad compound available as translations are completed.
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