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Friday, June 23, 2006

Al Qaeda to use e-bombs; Pakistan intel agent

WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- A former Pakistani intelligence agent who once worked closely with Osama bin Laden says that the U.S. may well be attacked with electro-magnetic pulse bombs.

During a June 22 interview with Adnkronos International news agency Khalid Khawaja said, "The e-bomb shall be the new threat for the USA, not the nukes or gas attacks."

Khawaja is a retired former member of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. After retiring, he went to Afghanistan and fought with bin Laden. Khawaja said of bin Laden, "Osama is above all this politicking. He is a great man and will remain great." Khawaja is said to retain close ties with Kashmiri militants and former Taliban leaders.

An e-bomb or electromagnetic pulse weapon is designed to disable electronic equipment over a wide area by generating an intense surge of electromagnetic radiation. The weapon generates an electromagnetic shock wave, inducing heavy currents in all electronic gadgets with semi-conducting materials, frying their circuitry.

An e-bomb would disable electronic systems on which even mechanical devices, such as cars and airplanes are highly dependent in industrialized nations.

The technology is well-known; in September 2001 "Popular Mechanics" published a cover story, "E-bombs and Terrorists," stating that such a weapon could be constructed for $400.

An e-bomb attack would disrupt telecommunications networks and power supplies while leaving infrastructure intact.

Khawaja told the news agency that he overheard the reference to the e-bomb in several conversations among Arab fighters in Afghanistan over the years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Khawaja said, "I never heard Osama or Dr. (Ayman al-) Zawahiri discuss a nuclear attack on the (United States) and neither did I hear that from any other person. To me, these kind of ideas are ridiculous. Only states can use nuclear technology to destroy any country. No group or individual can apply these technologies for mass destruction. I never heard anything which was discussed with any depth concerning gas attacks on America. However, I overheard conversations which strongly suggested that there is a section of the anti-American resistance which is seriously pursuing a project aimed at bringing America back to the Stone Age without harming human lives."
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