Al-Qaida behind attack near U.S. base in Japan?*
Terrorist group established network in country under order of Khalid
Posted: February 12, 2007
Al-Qaida might have been behind the two small explosions described as a
possible "guerrilla attack" outside a U.S. Army base south of Tokyo
today, according to ABC News.
No one was injured, but investigators are looking at the possibility it
was an attempted terrorist attack.
ABC said intelligence reports in Japan and Pakistan suggest al-Qaida has
established a small but powerful presence in Japan. That leads some
intelligence analysts to wonder whether or not today's events were
al-Qaida's first attempt at an attack in Japan.
Pakistani intelligence sources say militants from Pakistan tied to
al-Qaida had established networks in Japan as early as 1999 under direct
orders of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, considered the mastermind of the 9-11
Mohammed is now in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay.
About two dozen Pakistanis were sent to Japan on student visas in the
late 1990s to set up "sleeper cells," a source told ABC News. The
terrorists linked with operatives from the Indonesian terrorist group
One potential plan drawn up by the sleeper cells was to plant several
bombs at and around stadiums during the 2002 World Cup.
While the plan was never carried out, the intelligence source told ABC
he believes the networks are still in place and are "actively planning
operations against U.S. and Western targets in Japan."
"If these explosions [today] turn out to have been terrorist attacks,
these networks are the first place to look," he said.
The Army is still investigating the blast, an official at Camp Zama told
the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
"A small explosion was heard in the vicinity of the base," said Maj.
David Smith, a Pentagon spokesman. "It did not occur on the base."
Police found a "launch pad" near the base and suspected an attempted
guerrilla attack, Japan's Kyodo News agency reported.
The AP noted "leftist extremists" in Japan have used projectile
launchers against targets related to the U.S. military in attacks that
have been more symbolic than dangerous.
In 2002, Japanese police found a metal projectile and a crude mortar
made from a metal pipe near the scene of two blasts outside Camp Zama
that caused no injuries.