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Osama bin Laden plotted to attack the US with charter jets and train derailments in the wake of 9/11, papers obtained after his assassination reveal.
Documents confiscated by Navy SEALs after bin Laden’s 2011 execution revealed how he encouraged the use of private jets, rather than passenger planes, to carry out a follow up spectacular to the September 2001 atrocity.
Bin Laden, a trained engineer, also encouraged his followers to cut 12 meters (40 feet) from US train tracks to cause a spectacular derailment he hoped would kill hundreds.
The derailment plot was previously mentioned in 2011, when it was claimed bin Laden had been hoping to send a packed train careening off a bridge into a valley.
‘Rather than hijack a plane, operatives should charter one for their next attack on the U.S. And adds if that’s too difficult, they should target U.S. railways,’ bin Laden wrote in a letter to he head of al Qaeda’s international terror unit, according to Islamic scholar Nelly Lahoud.
‘He wanted to have 12 meters (40 feet) of steel rail removed so that, this way, the train could be derailed,’ Lahoud explained during a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday on CBS. ‘And we find him, explaining the simple toolkit that they could use.’
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had planned a second terror attack on the United States after orchestrating the airplane hijackings on 9/11
Documents confiscated by Navy SEALs after bin Laden’s execution reveal how he had sought to terrorize American citizens again either via chartered plane or railway
‘You could use a compressor. You could use a smelting iron tool,’ bin Laden instructed his followers while giving specifics on how to cut out bits of track.
Thousands of bin Laden’s personal letters and notes were confiscated 11 years ago by a team of two dozen Navy SEALs sent to Pakistan to capture and kill the terrorist.
The letters were declassified by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in 2017. Lahoud has been studying the documents ‘line by line’ for several years.
The scholar argued bin Laden was surprised at America’s reaction to the series of airline hijackings that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.
‘Al Qaeda did not anticipate that the United States would go to war,’ Lahoud said of bin Laden’s letters.
He reportedly thought the U.S. would respond with a ‘limited airstrike,’ but did not suspect it ‘would go beyond that.’
She claims that as war ravaged in Afghanistan, bin Laden detailed how he had anticipated the American people to respond to the violent 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 explained.
The letters also revealed that in November 2002, when U.S. intelligence officials were concerned that Al Qaeda was planning ‘spectacular attacks’ that would result in ‘mass casualties,’ bin Laden was hiding and ‘absolutely not’ running the terrorist group, Lahoud alleged.
Islamic scholar Nelly Lahoud, who studied bin Laden’s writings, alleged he told his Al Qaeda associates: ‘Rather than hijack a plane, operatives should charter one for their next attack on the U.S. And adds if that’s too difficult, they should target U.S. railways’
The scholar also argued bin Laden was surprised at America’s reaction to the series of airline hijackings that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001
She claims bin Laden was not in contact with his Al Qaeda associates for three years, while he was on the run, but later reconnected with them in 2004.
‘He’s very eager to replicate the 9/11 attacks in the United States,’ she says of the letters he penned in 2004. ‘You know he is mindful that now the security conditions are very difficult at airports.’
Although bin Laden, who had a civil engineering background, offered ideas on how Al Qaeda could strike the U.S. again by compromising the nation’s railway system, his plans were never executed.
Lahoud claimed Al Qaeda was ‘gutted by the war’ and had become ‘incapacitated’.’
‘The weakness, failure, and aimlessness that befell us were harrowing. We Muslims were defiled and desecrated. Our state was ripped asunder, our lands were occupied, our resources were plundered,’ a young Al Qaeda associated named Tawfiq wrote to bin Laden at the time.
‘I’m gonna tell you the truth as it is. And I know that some of the brothers here are not telling you everything in detail because they don’t want to upset you, particularly because of the delicate situations in which you find yourself with…’
Tawfiq was likely referring to the ‘delicate situation’ of bin Laden’s life in hiding, Lahoud explained.
Bin Laden reportedly ‘did not anticipate that the United States would go to war’ with Afghanistan after the attacks. He had thought the U.S. would respond with a ‘limited airstrike,’ but did not suspect it ‘would go beyond that’
The compound, within which al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed, is seen in flames after it was attacked in Abbottabad on Mat 2, 2011. U.S. Navy SEALs also seized 500,000 files from bin Laden’s hideaway
The letters also revealed that bin Laden planned an additional terror attack in 2010, targeting multiple crude oil tankers and major shipping routes in the Middle East and Africa.
He suggested Al Qaeda operatives could integrate themselves into the port areas by posing as fishermen.
He instructs his team on where to buy specific boats to evade radar and details how the vessels should be used to transport explosives.
‘The boats need to carry a large volume of explosives, preferably placed in an arch position, facing the vessel,’ bin Laden wrote.
‘It does not escape you, the importance of oil for industrialized economy today. And it is similar to blood for human beings,’ he added. ‘So, if you cause somebody to bleed excessively, even if you don’t kill him you will at least weaken him.’
Lahoud alleged that’s what bin Laden ‘really wanted to do to the American economy.’
The scholar noted bin Laden’s final attack plan was seemingly halted by the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Middle East in the early 2010s.
‘On one level they were very excited by the fact that the people were able to bring down dictators,’ Lahoud said. ‘But at the same time there were all these question marks about, “What is the value of jihad at the moment?” And we find this really throughout this notebook. “Is jihad still necessary?”‘
She alleged bin Laden was struggling to answer questions about the jihad – the fight against the enemies of Islam – before he was killed by Navy SEAL operatives.
The letters revealed that bin Laden was ‘very eager to replicate the 9/11 attacks in the United States’ and wanted to make the American economy ‘bleed excessively’. The above is an undated image from video seized from bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad
In February 2012, residents are shown watching the demolition of the compound where bin Laden was slain
Analysts have been studying bin Laden’s letters since they were found in a trove of documents at the Pakistan compound where he was killed and seized by U.S. special forces in 2011.
It was previously revealed that the terrorist had urged followers to assassinate Obama as a way of disrupting the 2012 presidential election.
He also banned al Qaeda from assassinating Joe Biden because he believed the Democrat would become an incompetent president and ‘lead the US into a crisis’ if jihadists were successful in killing Barack Obama.
Bin Laden penned the 48-page missive in May 2010 to an aide identified as ‘Brother Shaykh Mahmud’, real name Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. In it, he discusses the need to direct resources away from terror attacks in other Muslim countries and instead focus on direct attacks against the U.S.
On page 36, he outlines his desire to form two hit squads – one in Pakistan and another in Afghanistan – whose job it will be to plot attacks against then-President Barack Obama and ex-CIA director David Petraeus, should they visit either country.
Giving his reasoning for attacking Obama, he says: ‘Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there.
‘Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis.’
Analysts have been studying bin Laden’s letters since they were found in a trove of documents at the Pakistan compound where he was killed and seized by U.S. special forces in 2011
Previous analysis of the documents revealed how bin Laden had urged followers to assassinate Obama as a way of disrupting the 2012 presidential election. He also allegedly banned al Qaeda from assassinating Joe Biden because he believed the Democrat would become an incompetent president and ‘lead the US into a crisis’ if Obama was killed
He the adds: ‘As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour in this last year of the war, and killing him would alter the war’s path.’
U.S. intelligence analysts who first revealed the existence of the document to the Washington Post in 2012 said neither of the plots against Obama or Petraeus were realistic or amounted to anything.
Bin Laden’s journals also revealed a mathematical calculation of how many people Al Qaeda would have to kill to finally force the U.S. out of the Middle East – concluding it would take another 9/11 at least.
He told his disciples that only a body count of thousands, something on the scale of the September 11 attacks in 2001, would shift U.S. policy.
He also schemed about ways to sow political dissent in Washington and play political figures against one another. His writings allegedly gave clear indication that Bin laden was communicating with other extremists.
The Navy SEALs seized a total of 500,00 files, including writings, photographs, videos and audio files, from bin Laden’s hideaway compound.
It is unclear how long it will take experts to cypher through and analyze the entire collection.