LONDON: Osama bin Laden was planning a second terrorist attack targeting the US just three years after masterminding the atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a report from CBS News.
Letters and other papers obtained after the former Al-Qaeda chief was killed by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011 revealed that he wanted to launch another attack using similar methods to those employed on 9/11, but using private jets instead of passenger planes.
The plans were discovered by security and terrorism expert Nelly Lahoud when she analyzed the documents. She told CBS that if bin Laden’s plan to use private jets proved to be impossible, he wanted to sabotage railway tracks in the US to cause derailments that resulted in large numbers of casualties.
While in hiding after 9/11 to evade capture by US forces, she added, bin Laden remained in contact with other Al-Qaeda leaders and began planning the next attack, using his background in engineering to devise methods for causing as much death and destruction as possible.
“He wanted to have 12 meters of steel rail removed so that, this way, the train could be derailed,” Lahoud said. “And we find him explaining the simple toolkit that they could use. He said: ‘You could use a compressor, you could use a smelting iron tool.’”
Another of bin Laden’s ideas was for undercover Al-Qaeda operatives to blow up small wooden fishing boats at American ports to sink oil tankers in an effort to damage the US economy.
“Bin Laden suggested Al-Qaeda operatives could integrate themselves into the port areas by posing as fishermen,” Lahoud said. “He instructed his team on where to buy specific boats to evade radar and detailed how the vessels should be used to transport explosives.”
The war in Afghanistan ultimately stymied the ability of Al-Qaeda to carry out other large-scale attacks, she added, and by 2006 the organization only had about $200,000 in accessible funds.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks and Lahoud said that bin Laden failed to anticipate the ferocity of the US response it would provoke, including the launch of a full-fledged invasion and subsequent war in Afghanistan.