November 25: In the last few hours DEBKAfile counter-terror sources report a heightened volume of traffic over the Arabic Internet forums frequented by al Qaeda and its partisans. Most of the last messages end: “The zero hour has come.”
One particular release was aired three times today, all posted by “ARAMCO boy”. The last one to reach our sources was issued at 12:28 EST, 19:28 IST.
”Today, at 6:20 hours, there will be a surprise program, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen over our Qatari channel. Anyone who knows what I mean must tell no one so as to keep the surprise whose content everyone will love. Only God knows what I mean. The program forced me to write these lines at great speed and I ask God to forgive me and reserve Paradise and not Hell for me. The zero hour has come.”
According to DEBKAfile’s sources, these messages may be red herrings designed to confuse and mislead outside monitors. However, the source who picked up the latest batch was the first to detect and correctly interpret at least two such enigmatic messages in recent months as presaging the re-appearance of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenant Ayman Zuwahri after many months out of sight. They were followed by pre-recorded statements over al Jazeera satellite TV. The timing too is suggestive: Thursday, November 28, is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
Also worth noting is that while messages over these forums usually draw responses, the one cited here went unanswered.
Three days after this was received, two simultaneous terrorist attacks targeted Israelis in Mombasa, Kenya at a hotel and aboard an airliner. Three Israelis, including two young girls, were killed in a bomb blast that wrecked the Mombasa Paradise hotel and 80 were injured. The Arkia Boeing 757 escaped harm from two Strella missiles shot from a white minivan as it lifted off from Mombasa airport with 260 passengers.
DEBKAfile counter-terror experts note: The Mombasa attacks like the Bali bombing targeted exotic tourist spots frequented by Western vacationers - focusing on Australians in the first and Israelis in the second.