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Hundreds of al Qaeda 'sleeper agents' living in Europe

Hundreds of al Qaeda 'sleeper agents' living in Europe

Author: Agencies
Publication: www.expressindia.com
Date: November 20, 2001
URL: http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=4689

Washington, November 19: Hundreds of al Qaeda "sleeper agents" are living in Europe waiting for orders to attack, according to a report in The Washington Post citing France's chief counter intelligence officer. Jean-Jacques Pascal, head of France's DST counter intelligence agency, said a number of "neo-Afghans," or Algerians who trained in Afghan terrorist camps, had resettled in Europe.

The DST issued a warning about these "sleepers" as early as 1998, according to the report, an opinion column quoting a "rare interview" with Pascal.

Pascal told The Post that many of these agents were educated and apparently assimilated young men trained in "heavy" terrorist operations in Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan.

The secret network was a threat, given "what they may have in their portfolio," The Post quoted Pascal as saying. According to the report, the DST, working with intelligence agencies across Europe, managed to break up several planned al Qaeda operations, including plans to bomb France's 1998 world cup soccer matches.

Authorities also interrupted plans for an attack during Christmas 2000 in Strasbourg, home of the European Parliament, and a scheme this year to blow up the US embassy in Paris, The Post said.
 


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