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Al Qaeda threatening to start wildfires in US

May 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Al Qaeda terrorists are calling on followers to ignite wildfires in the U.S., which could make California a target.

Californians have seen their share of devastating wildfires, some large enough to wipe out whole neighborhoods in a matter of minutes. It is the kind of destruction terrorists are now hoping to take advantage of. An al Qaeda-linked website is now calling on extremists to set fires in remote areas.

The websites even provide instructions on how to make fire bombs and firefighters are taking it seriously.

"It does not seem all that farfetched. A wildfire moves quite quickly and can inflict damage, and if people have that intent, it's very frightening," said Battalion chief Julie Hutchinson with the California Fire Department.

The instructions to extremists come from Inspire, al Qaeda's online publication which was started by American-born al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. missile strike in September, but the publication is still being produced.

The threats of wildfire attacks come on the same day U.S. military officials released new documents obtained in last year's raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The documents indicate bin Laden wanted his terror network to try and assassinate President Barack Obama.

The documents, which were posted online by the U.S. army, show that bin Laden was revered by followers and yet his orders were sometimes ignored. They also indicated U.S. missile strikes were taking a heavy toll on the terror groups command structure and that weighed heavily on bin Laden up until the raid that led to his death.

The documents also indicate that bin Laden wanted to target General David Petraeus, who was the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan at the time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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