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Core Al-Qaeda group 'essentially gone', dangerous affiliates remain, say US officials

Washington , Sat, 28 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 28 (ANI): Death of Al-Qaeda's leader Osama Bin Laden in a US Navy SEAL raid last year has weakened the terrorist network, but its affiliates still remain a threat to America, intelligence officials have said.

Core al-Qaea's new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, still aspires to attack the US, but his Pakistan-based group is scrambling to survive, under fire from CIA drone strikes and laying low for fear of another U.S.

According to US intelligence officials, this has lessened the threat of another complex attack like a nuclear dirty bomb or a biological weapon, Fox News reports.

Al-Qaeda, however, continues to signify the ideology of global jihad against the West and 'apostate' regimes in the Muslim world.

According to officials, Al-Qaea's loyal offshoots remain dangerous, and three groups have assumed particular importance, 'Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula' (AQAP), based in Yemen, 'Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb' (AQIM), found in the Saharan region of West Africa, and al-Shabaab, which controls a large area of southern Somalia.

"Each will seek opportunities to strike Western interests in its operating area, but each group will have different intent and ability to execute those plans," the report quoted Robert Cardillo, deputy director at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as saying.

Of these, only AQAP has demonstrated both the intention and capability to strike Western targets, the report said.

Another threat cited by the officials is homegrown extremists, either lone actors or small groups inspired by Al-Qaeda, who remain intent on committing violence.

The officials also noted that every time US counter terrorist forces strike, they must take care to avoid everything from civilian casualties to hitting the wrong target, lest the blowback produce more enemies. (ANI)


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