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10/30/2020 2:42:12 PM
Posted: 12/27/2003 4:59:26 PM EDT

Report: Saudi Police Foil Airliner Attack
By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi security forces have seized light planes packed with explosives near Riyadh's King Khalid airport, foiling a plot by suicide pilots to blow up a Western airliner on the runway, a British newspaper said on Sunday.

Two pilots apparently intended to crash their light planes into a Western jet as it taxied slowly on the tarmac, the Mail on Sunday quoted Patrick Mercer, homeland security policy chief for Britain's opposition Conservative Party as saying.

"My understanding is that (the light planes) were found on the flight line and that the plan was to fly them into a passenger jet either about to land or take off," Mercer told the paper.

The two pilots were among several people arrested after the planes were discovered some time in the past few weeks, the paper said.

It said British Airways was believed to be the most likely target, although several other European carriers also use the airport.

A BA spokesman said the airline had no knowledge of the incident described in the paper.

"We are in regular contact with the Saudi authorities and the British government and we wouldn't fly unless it was completely safe to do so," a spokesman said. "We haven't changed our flights to or from Saudi Arabia."

BA suspended flights to the oil-rich Gulf kingdom in August citing a security threat, but the airline resumed flying the following month after a review.

Mercer was not available to elaborate on his remarks and the British Foreign Office said it was not aware of the incident.

Britain and the United States have both warned of possible threats to Western aviation targets in Saudi Arabia over the past few months.

Saudi Arabia, birthplace of suspected September 11, 2001, mastermind Osama bin Laden, has seen a wave of strikes by militants this year, including major suicide bombings at housing compounds in May and November that killed more than 50 people.

Police and militants have had frequent shootouts. The government has rounded up hundreds of suspects and says it has seized massive caches of explosives and weapons.


12/27/03 18:53

© Copyright Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of Reuters Ltd.



Dude, has the FBI thought of this kind of attack before?

Were THESE the attacks that were being mentioned about in internet chatter?
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 5:08:05 PM EDT
Pardon me for sounding cold-blooded, but better it happen there, than here. And Lord knows, by tolerating and supporting radical fundamentalism, the Saudis have reaped the whirlwind they have sown. Maybe now they'll get on board with us, and not stab us- and themselves- in the back.[:(]
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 5:28:13 PM EDT
Yup, the Kingdom is squarely in the crosshairs on this one.  They’ve been feeding and giving the beast shelter and it’s about to turn and bite them squarely on the ass.

I wonder how many people will have to die over there before the light bulb comes on and they realize that they are almost as big a target as we are?
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 6:27:03 PM EDT
Its really the Royal Family and its dependants vs. the rest of the population- and all their imported Pakistani and Palistinian [s]slaves[/s] hired help.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 6:37:05 PM EDT
Saudi Arabia is the root of our problems.  

They are such great allies, huh?  :rolleyes:
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 7:01:28 PM EDT
They will be better allies when the Saudi Royals realise that their only chance for survival rests with us. If they guarentee us no cut off in oil supplies, and cough up cash to help rebuild Iraq, while halting funding for the radicals...

...right now they are still trying to play both sides of the street and it isn't working.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 7:09:24 PM EDT
Strange that they'd load the light aircraft up with explosives. I'd think that simply crashing them into the airliner at 50 MPH would cause plenty of damage and ignite the fuel.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 7:39:41 PM EDT
Saudi Royal family has hundreds of members split into 3 camps:

First camp does not support terrorists, but fears being overthrown.

Second camp gives terrorists money, hoping to buy off the terrorists and thus keep from being overthrown.

Third camp actively supports terrorists, hoping the terrorists will not overthrow their friends, the royals.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 7:42:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2003 7:43:37 PM EDT by Skibane]
Originally Posted By mcgredo:
Strange that they'd load the light aircraft up with explosives. I'd think that simply crashing them into the airliner at 50 MPH would cause plenty of damage and ignite the fuel.
View Quote


Strange they'd use light aircraft at all – you could just as easily drive an explosives-laden "service truck" into an airliner while it was still on the ground. A truck is certainly more manuverable on the ground than a taxiing aircraft.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 7:52:11 PM EDT
A typical GA aircraft is not much more than 3,000 pounds fully loaded and carries no more than 60 or so gallons of fuel.  The commercial is going to be anything from 150,000 to 850,000 pounds and carrying up to 50,000+ gallons of fuel (a 747 for example).

Putting a single engine Cessna or Piper into a Boeing or Airbus would be about the same as an Civic vs. a Expedition (can you say "speed bump").

Pack the smaller one with explosives and you’ll won’t have enough left over when it’s all done burning to put in a Baggie.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:30:01 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:47:15 PM EDT
I am sure they thought if it two minutes after that Florida kid rammed his light aircraft into the side of that building...

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Dude, has the FBI thought of this kind of attack before?

Were THESE the attacks that were being mentioned about in internet chatter?
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 1:50:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By mcgredo:
Strange that they'd load the light aircraft up with explosives. I'd think that simply crashing them into the airliner at 50 MPH would cause plenty of damage and ignite the fuel.
View Quote


Strange they'd use light aircraft at all – you could just as easily drive an explosives-laden "service truck" into an airliner while it was still on the ground. A truck is certainly more manuverable on the ground than a taxiing aircraft.
View Quote


I think they couldn't get inside security to do that.

Also I thought the plan was to crash a [i]flying[/i] light aircraft into a [i]taxiing[/i] airliner, not a [i]taxiing[/i] light aircraft rolling up to a [i]taxiiing[/i] airliner. That would also require them to be able to penetrate security. The purpose of using the light plane was to fly over security, they apparently determined that there was no ADA or fighter protection for the airport but lots of armed soldiers and police to get through.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:58:23 PM EDT
I thought the plan was to crash a flying light aircraft into a taxiing airliner, not a taxiing light aircraft rolling up to a taxiiing airliner.
View Quote


I hadn't even considered that – and it probably isn't all that hard to fly a small plane into a stationary target as big as an airliner.

This sounds like a valid security risk. I can visualize half a dozen airliners sitting at one end of the runway at DFW or JFK during one of the peak rush hours, all lined up for their turn to take off. Talk about sitting ducks for several attacks in quick succession...Yikes.
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