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Missing explosives 'to be used in Manila'

The US embassy in Manila was the focus of protests in August, when US Secretary of State Colin Powell visited  

From Maria Ressa
CNN Correspondent

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- An al Qaeda plot has been set in motion in Manila targeting the U.S. and Israeli embassies, U.S. and Asian officials have told CNN.

At least four tons of explosives are missing in the Philippines. Authorities have been told by an informant that they are to be used by al Qaeda suicide bombers who will travel -- or have already traveled -- to the Philippines from outside the region.

"We have placed our entire police forces and armed forces on red alert," says Angelo Reyes, the Philippines Secretary of Defense.

The information came from al Qaeda operative, Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a Canadian born in Kuwait.

Jabarah met with Osama bin Laden two months before being sent to Southeast Asia by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, intelligence sources told CNN.

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Khalid is a bin Laden lieutenant, who U.S. authorities say is the key planner of September 11.

"Jabarah, a personal choice of Osama bin Laden because of his mastery with the English language, was dispatched on 10 September 2001 by al Qaeda operation officer Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to assist in carrying out bombing activities in the Philippines and Singapore," intelligence documents obtained by CNN stated.

Singapore plot foiled

Authorities in Singapore say Jabarah activated sleeper cells there to attack the U.S. embassy and other western interests in the city-state.

The plot was foiled with the Singapore cell largely dismantled after the arrest of 13 members last year.

Jabarah himself was arrested around March this year in Oman and is now in U.S. custody.

During his interrogation, he told investigators the plot in Singapore was moved to the Philippines.

"He has [as a confirmed terrorist] excellent credentials. We have to take the results of that interrogation report very, very seriously," says Reyes.

The attack is not necessarily linked to the anniversary of September 11, according to Philippine officials.

There are many reasons why the Philippines may be targeted -- with reasons ranging from al Qaeda's established presence to the fact that the Philippines is a key U.S. ally.

The United States is aware of the threat and are working with their counterparts to prevent any attacks, U.S. sources told CNN.




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