Osama Bin Laden Had Plans For Second Terrorist Attack After 9/11
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Osama bin Laden planned to target the US with another terrorist attack after 9/11, according to documents obtained after his death.
The former al-Qaeda leader was assassinated in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by Navy SEALs on 1 May 2011.
It's considered to be one the most significant counter-terrorism operations in history.
The operation, named Neptune Spear, took just 40 minutes. However, SEALs requested more time on the ground after finding computers, other electronics and thousands of letters and notes, later known as the 'bin Laden Papers'.
The documents were declassified by the CIA in 2017, at which point author and Islamic scholar Nelly Lahoud sought them out, translated and analysed them to better understand al-Qaeda and the infamous figure.
During a 60 Minutes interview with CBS, Lahoud explained: "Bin Laden's greatest fear was about exposing al Qaeda's secrets. And so the fact that the SEALs decided to recover these letters ensured that al Qaeda's secrets were exposed.
"We see in the letters diminutive bin Laden, somebody who is very different from this powerful figure that we were reading about daily in the newspapers for over a decade.
"And the disconnect between his ambitions and between his capabilities is confounding."
As U.S. intelligence officials warned al Qaeda may be planning “spectacular attacks” in 2002, Osama bin Laden’s letters show that at that time, the terror organization was weak, and bin Laden was not the “puppet master” people thought he was. https://t.co/g6lRY8rYwp pic.twitter.com/FrKm1hDZwI— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 24, 2022
According to Lahoud, bin Laden was surprised by the reaction to the 9/11 attacks.
"He thought that the American people would take to the streets, replicate the anti-Vietnam war protests and they would put pressure on their government to withdraw from Muslim majority states," she said.
Across the documents, it became clear that bin Laden was keen to replicate 9/11 in another attack on the US.
"You know he is mindful that now the security conditions are very difficult at airports," Lahoud added.
In a letter to the head of al-Qaeda's international terror unit, bin Laden suggested operatives should charter a plane for their next attack, otherwise they could target the railways.
Bin Laden’s final plan to attack appears to have been halted by another event he never saw coming: the Arab Spring. While the bin Ladens were happy people were bringing down dictators, the peaceful protests begged the question: Is jihad still necessary? https://t.co/ZUQRrhVajC pic.twitter.com/rAJyXxnjRX— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 24, 2022
Lahoud said: "He wanted to have 12 metres of steel rail removed so that, this way, the train could be derailed. And we find him, explaining the simple toolkit that they could use.
"You know, he said, 'You could use a compressor. You could use a smelting iron tool.'"
In 2010, he also wanted to conduct a terror attack on crude oil tankers and shipping routes in the Middle East and Africa.
Bin Laden said: "It does not escape you, the importance of oil for industrialised economy today. And it is similar to blood for human beings. So, if you cause somebody to bleed excessively, even if you don't kill him you will at least weaken him."
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