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Shehzad's replacement has arrived! US wary

Last updated on: October 15, 2010 13:47 IST

Shehzad's replacement has arrived! US wary

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Recent intelligence has indicated that the Pakistani Taliban, which orchestrated the failed Times Square bombing, may have successfully placed another operative inside the United States to launch a second attack in the 'Target Number One' country for terrorists, sources revealed.

While senior US officials are concerned over recent intelligence, authorities, however, know very little about the potential operative or any possible plot, Fox News reported.

"(We) don't know who it is and don't know where it is," one source said.

"We know the guy's here, but don't know anything about him."

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Image: File photo shows a technician examining the SUV packed with bomb materials in New York's Times Square
Photographs: Reuters
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US authorities are 'very nervous'

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According to sources, authorities, who are "very nervous" and describe the latest threat as "credible but not specific," however believe that the subject of the latest intelligence would use "a similar mechanism" and the "same modus operandi" employed by 31-year-old Faisal Shahzad in May, mostly "because it's easily accessible here."

In the months leading up to his attack, Shahzad had purchased fertilizer, propane gas, fireworks and other components from stores in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. But the bomb that he ultimately built and packed inside a sports utility vehicle failed to detonate properly.

The latest threat stream's lack of specificity makes it nearly impossible for the counter terrorism community to defend against such an attack, a senior intelligence official pointed out.


Image: File photo of Shehzad

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'Intelligence we get ends up washing out'

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Any possible threat, however, does not seem to be imminent, with a senior counterterrorism official saying that he was "unaware" of any "imminent threats" against the US homeland.

"In many cases, intelligence we get ends up washing out," he added.

As for the subject of this intelligence, he could be anywhere in the United States, and authorities believe the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, would have directed the individual to attempt another Times Square-style operation, but not necessarily in New York City.



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'We are Target Number One for terrorists'

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"It's not surprising this day and age that an individual is residing in or travelled to the United States in hopes of pulling off some sort of attack," the counterterrorism official, speaking generally, said. "We are 'Target Number One' for terrorists, and it requires a constant vigilance."

In a video released by the Pakistani Taliban two months after the failed Times Square attack, Shahzad had said that it is "not difficult at all to wage an attack on the West, and specifically in the US"

"Get up and learn from me and make an effort," he added in the video, recorded eight months before its release. "Nothing is impossible if you just keep in mind that Allah is with you."


Image: A grab of the video featuring Shehzad

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'The threat to us is a continuing one'

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The recent intelligence regarding the Pakistani Taliban's direct threat to the US homeland has no connection to the US State Department's recent alert urging Americans to use caution when travelling to Europe, officials have emphasised, but they have been careful not to rule out other threats or to address other threat information.

In fact, the senior intelligence official disclosed that US authorities were presently following five major threat streams- three aimed at Europe and two aimed at the United States.

"We have certainly seen over the past year attempts by Al Qaeda or its affiliates to attack the United States. We saw that in Detroit [with the failed Christmas Day bombing]. We saw that in Times Square. And so we are mindful of the fact that the threat to our homeland is a continuing one," Attorney General Eric Holder said during a press conference in Washington last week.


Image: New York Police Department Officer Ariel Ortiz, left, looks into a train as he patrols the Times Square subway station in New York on Thursday
Photographs: Reuters
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