Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Boston's terrorist blasts point toward al-Qaeda

Boston's terrorist blasts point toward al-Qaeda, Speaking from the Oval Office, 52-year-old President Barack Obama asked the public to reserve judgment on the origin of the two bomb blasts that killed at least three and injured over 130 near the finish line of today’s Boston Marathon. While it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to assigning blame, today’s blasts have al-Qaeda’s fingerprints all over the rubble. While ballistic experts comb through the type of nitrates used in the explosives, Boston Police and Fire Department already have two unexploded devices proving that even well-honed terrorist plans go awry. Timed for maxium damage at the peak finishing time, the carnage from the blasts reveal the same ball bearings used by al-Qaeda and Hamas suicide bombers, designed to inflict maximum shrapnel damage on victims. Emergency medical personnel at local Boston hospitals confirmed the presence of ball bearings.

Boston’s marathon was a perfect “soft target,” the exact kind of venue anticipated by terrorism experts as the likely terrorist attack. With the U.S. getting Bin Laden May 1, 2011, his successor 62-year-old Egyptian-born physician Ayam al-Zawahri promised retaliation. Hitting the U.S. consulate with rocket propelled grenades Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya killing three U.S. citizens, al-Qaeda struck over a year later after getting Bin Laden in Abbottagad, Pakistan. Only three months later Sept. 30, 2011, a U.S. Predator Drone strike killed 40-year-old U.S.-born Yemen al-Qaeda chief Anwar al-Awlaki. While the former Bush administration liked to say that no terrorist attack occurred on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, today’s Boston attack, while not confirmed yet, proves that al-Qaeda’s reach hasn’t diminished by Bin Laden’s death. Boston authorities haven’t yet ruled out the presence of C-4 or PETN explosives.

Local authorities confirmed that a 20-something Saudi-national was in custody treated for leg wounds, placing him close to the detonation site. While not yet under official arrest, his proximity to the blasts were too close for comfort and highly suspect. Eyewitnesses or at least victims at the scene near the two bomb blast confirmed the powerful nature of the explosions, inconsistent with crudely made devices more connected with domestic terrorism. “It felt like a huge cannon,” said a bystander close to the double blasts. Whatever the type of explosive, it shook buildings, creating widespread panic, trampling and shock among the densely populated area near the Marathon’s finish. Boston Police Chief Ed Davis confirmed that authorities have found two un-exploded devices. Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) called the event “sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack.”

Keating confirmed that that one of the unexploded bombs was found in a hotel near Copley Plaza on Bolyston Street, close to the Marathon’s finish line. Two other Copley Plaza hotels, the Lexington and Marriott, were evacuated to check for more bombs. “This is a horrific day in Boston,” said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. “My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured. I have been in touch with the president, Mayor {Thomas] Menino and our other public safety leaders . . . “ Patrick knows that the real agonizing focus now turns to finding who’s responsible for detonating the bombs. While it’s prudent to reserve judgment, authorities already know the components of the bombs, whether exploded or still intact. Given the highly coordinated nature of the blasts with the same components found in Mideast terrorist bombs, it sounds a lot like al-Qaeda.

Retaliating against the U.S. hasn’t been easy since Sept. 11. Added airline security has made hijacking virtually impossible, pointing instead to less dramatic pinprick attacks as “soft targets.” Picking the Boston Marathon showed the terrorists were acutely aware the 27,000 runners and hoards of crowds participating in a major street event. Waiting to detonate the bombs at 2:45 p.m., two hours after the elite runners crossed the finish line, the terrorists knew the peak crowds to administer maximum casualties. Saying he was “happy to see horror in America,” Jordanian extremist Mohmmad al-Chalabi expressed his delight over the carnage. “American blood isn’t more precious than Muslim blood,” said al-Chalabi, not taking responsibility but clearly showing pleasure from the event. Reacting across the globe, shows how closely extremists follow terrorist acts.

Forensic experts will take their time connecting all the dots to eventually point fingers one way or another. If Boston’s ERs report shrapnel wounds from ball bearings and other shrapnel, the bomb components sound all-to-familiar. While skeptics wish to point toward homegrown Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh for truck-bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building April 19, 1995 killing 168 bystanders, there’s never been another explosive-driven domestic terrorist attack. Boston’s twin blasts have al-Qaeda’s fingerprints all over it. Watching al-Chalabi take great pride in the Boston attacks suggests that there’s a Mideast connection. When the dust settles and authorities figure out the origin of the blasts, they’ll be asking some tough questions about why local, state and federal law enforcement once again let terrorists slip undetected under the radar.

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