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From the bloody pages of Al-Qaida's killing manual

From the bloody pages of Al-Qaida's killing manual

Author: Nick Fielding
Publication: The Times of India
Date: November 5, 2001

A unique manual for Islamic terrorists, detailing every aspect of how to fight a guerrilla war, from biochemical attacks to finding the fatal pressure point during hand-to-hand combat, has been obtained by western intelligence agencies.

The 7,000-page guide - titled Encyclopedia of jehad - provides an insight into how terrorists from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida network operate in both urban environments and on the battlefield.

Filling 11 volumes and circulated both in book form and on CD-Rom to terrorist instructors, it offers guidance on how to inject frozen food with biochemical agents to create mass panic, rig up a door lock to explode when the handle is turned, and bring down a plane with a missile.

The encyclopedia is dedicated to bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, a charismatic preacher who was a formative influence on the Saudi terrorist. It distils the experience of 10 years of guerrilla fighting against the Russians in Afghanistan and draws on stolen CIA and special 'services' handbooks.

The most chilling volume is the 11th, which deals with bio-terrorism, which is on a separate CD-Rom. It explains how to disperse potentially lethal organisms and poisons, ranging from botulism and viral infections to anthrax and training camp in Pakistan where toxins are manufactured.

It details targets such as water and food supplies, and advocates maximizing public panic by poisoning medicine, thereby jeopardising treatment of the sick and injured. Sources of biological material include a list of countries that produce anthrax and a training camp in Pakistan where toxins are manufactured.

The encyclopedia was found in 1999 in the home of Khalil Deek when he was arrested in connection with an alleged plot to bomb Jordan's main airport in the capital, Amman, on the eve of the millennium.

Each of the 10 volumes of the main encyclopedia carries a picture showing a belt-fed machinegun standing in a window next to a copy of the Koran. One, on security and intelligence, shows the long-term planning involved in operations, with "sleeper" cells set up years in advance. "The mujaheed should be young, so he can start the mission 10 years before the start of the jehad," it states.

Surveillance of potential targets -with video cameras, still cameras and mini-microphones -is critical. They include:

* Symbolic targets, such as the Statue of Liberty in New York or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where attacks would cause psychological damage but would be largely victimless;

* Key infrastructure, such as nuclear power stations, skyscrapers, ports and train stations;

* Human targets, including stadiums where large numbers of people congregate and, particularly in Arabic countries, influential public figures.

The construction of booby- trapped explosive devices that would not be out of place in a James Bond film is explained in minute detail. One page, from the volume on explosives, shows how to turn a packet of cigarettes into a bomb. It goes on to detail how individual cigarettes can be primed with explosives as well as cigarette lighters, mattresses, chairs and even chocolate bars, toothpaste tubes and hairbrushes.

Another page shows how an envelope can be booby-trapped with a slim lead of C4 explosive, a desk drawer sprung to explode when it is opened, and a barbecue or fireplace prepared to set off a hidden bomb when the fuel is lit.

A carefully drawn picture of a motorcycle helmet shows how it can be lined with explosive, then remotely controlled to blow up when the intended victim puts it on. One section shows how to turn cameras into bombs. It was the method used to kill Ahmed Shah Masoud.

The encyclopedia contains instructions on the ingredients needed to make explosives, including innocuous substances bought from supermarkets. It begins with the basic chemical compounds and then lays out the exact quantities to be combined. One suggestion even includes Nescafe coffee and sugar.

Each volume is comprehensive. In discussing timers, the section on explosives ranges from complex loop, tremor and tilting switches to cruder versions that can be made from mousetraps, clothes pegs or light switches.

Unlike other Islamic terrorist manuals, previously revealed in court papers, there is little religious direction in the encyclopedia. Everything is presented factually, almost every page carries a diagram.

At least four of the chapters are devoted to the military, from showing how to create an assault gun in a field forge from metal scavenged from the battlefield to mounting an attack on combat vehicles.

Another section covers first aid, including how to prevent blood loss from wounds. Alongside are further diagrams demonstrating how to kill an opponent by pinching pressure points on the back of the neck and the windpipe.

The book outlines how bridges can be blown up using conventional military explosives. Last week America was put on high alert over the possibility of attacks on bridges such as the Golden Gate in San Francisco.

Other volumes teach typography, map reading and how to use the stars to work out your location. The importance of propaganda and misinformation is outlined, telling operatives of plans to "penetrate certain Arabic papers and also western ones". The aim is to sow trouble and confusion by spreading false rumours.

The sophistication of some parts of the manual has alarmed intelligence agencies, which have asked counter-terrorism experts given access to the document not to discuss or release key elements, particularly on bio-terrorism. (The Sunday Times)

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