- BERLIN (AFP) - Western secret
services knew as far back as 1995 that suspected terror mastermind Osama
bin Laden planned to attack civilian sites using commercial passenger planes,
German newspaper Die Welt said Friday.
- Quoting sources close to western intelligence services,
Die Welt said that authorities did not take seriously the threat of the
plan, known as Project Bojinka.
- The plan was discovered in January 1995 by Philippine
police who were investigating a possible attack against Pope John Paul
II on a visit to Manila.
- They found details of the plan in a computer seized in
an apartment used by three men who were part of Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
- It provided for 11 planes to be exploded simultaneously
by bombs placed on board, but also in an alternative form for several planes
flying to the United States to be hijacked and flown into civilian targets.
- Among targets mentioned was the World Trade Center in
New York, which was destroyed in the September 11 terror attacks in the
United States that killed thousands.
- Other targets mentioned were CIA offices in Virginia
and the Sears Tower in Chicago, Die Welt said.
- The plot re-surfaced during the trial in New York in
1997 of Pakistani Ramsi Youssef, the mastermind of the attack on the World
Trade Center in 1993.
- Die Welt said the US Federal Bureau of Investigation
and CIA would have known about the plan at the latest at this time.