Western Journalism has posted several stories (see them here and here) on the growing concern about a new campaign of international terror from the sky. Islamic State radicals have reportedly seized control of close to a dozen large aircraft at the airport in Tripoli, Libya, stoking fears that those jetliners could become flying bombs in mass terror attacks tied to the anniversary of 9/11.
Now comes word of a potential terror attack on a very large scale delivered by sea. The Washington Times is reporting that intelligence experts are concerned about training that terror agents may be receiving in the United States on the operation of huge oil tankers — massive vessels that could be used to cause enormous harm to the environment or to the population of a U.S port city.
U.S. intelligence agencies last month reported that a group of 22 Yemeni-Americans were training in Houston to be seamen on oil tankers, raising terrorism concerns over the unusual activity.
The Department of Homeland Security issued an Aug. 26 report from its National Terrorism Advisory System about the case.
“Reporting revealed that 22 students of Middle Eastern descent from Michigan and California were enrolled in recent maritime training courses in Houston, TX to obtain training, licensing, and/or mariner ratings during calendar year 2014,” the report said. “All students were naturalized U.S. citizens from Yemen.”
The fact that security officials are keeping their eyes on men of Yemeni descent is significant. Yemen is a known hub for the terrorist group “al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” which has been accused of conducting two failed terrorist attacks on U.S. airliners in recent years.
Again, from the Washington Times investigation:
The [DHS] report said the U.S. government received confidential information from intelligence sources indicating suspicions about the Yemeni-Americans attending the seamanship classes. Most of the men were from Dearborn, Michigan, and their training in Texas was considered unusual because other marine training schools are located closer to Michigan.
An investigation revealed that all the students worked on oil carriers in the Great Lakes and came to Texas because similar schools in Michigan had closed. Twenty of the students were from Dearborn, and two were from Oakland, California.
We know that hijackers can seize control of a fully loaded oil tanker at sea because of experience with Somali pirates, as reported in the New York Times:
Somali pirates have hijacked a Greek-owned oil tanker carrying close to a million barrels of crude oil in the Arabian Sea, the first successful attack on an oil tanker off the Horn of Africa in more than a year.
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