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02.Dec.2002 Senators WARN - More terrorism if war starts




SOURCE : | © The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon

By Bloomberg News WASHINGTON -

U.S. intelligence officials believe

terrorists are planning attacks inside the U.S.

to coincide with any war to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime,

Sen. Bob Graham said.

"We face, according to the consensus view of our intelligence community, a 75 percent or better likelihood of terrorist attacks inside the United States at the point that Saddam Hussein feels that all is lost and is about to be toppled from power," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday."

Graham, a Democrat from Florida, is the outgoing chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He and Richard Shelby, the incoming chairman, underscored U.S. concerns

that Hussein is in cahoots with terrorist groups and

may sponsor strikes if he feels his power is threatened.

"They have a common goal + when you have a common goal you work together directly and indirectly,"

said Shelby, an Alabama Republican, who appeared with Graham on Fox.

Both men said they expect an increase in terrorist activity after last week's suicide bombings in Mombasa, Kenya, that killed as many as 16 people, including two Israeli children.

Graham said the Kenya attacks were probably carried out by Islamayah,

a Somali-Kenyan group loosely affiliated with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

The U.S. State Department last week

issued warnings to American citizens

of similar attacks in Yemen and East Africa.

"I think it's the first of a lot of attacks against our allies,

against our friends

and perhaps against us around the world,"

Shelby said.

"But I also believe that terrorists are looking at our own country."

Graham said

the U.S. Transportation Department should "immediately" take steps to protect U.S. commercial airliners

against attacks such as the failed attempt in Kenya

to shoot down an Israeli plane with two shoulder-fired missiles.

"There are thousands of these surface-to-air missiles around the world,"

Shelby said.

"You can buy them,

and you can transport them.

A lot of them are not as accurate as others.

But sooner or later,

that's going to be

one of the methods

for the terrorists

to hit."

The U.S. advisory for Americans in east Africa and Yemen warned

that terrorists may strike "softer" targets

such as residential areas,






United Nations' weapons inspectors

are in Iraq under a Security Council mandate

to rid that nation of weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq denies it has these weapons.

The U.S. says it does,


President Bush

vows war

if Iraq doesn't cooperate

with the U.N.


who has been critical of President Bush's campaign against Iraq,

urged the administration to step up efforts

to locate and arrest possible terrorist groups


the U.S.

that may have state-sponsored support

from countries

such as


Graham said

Israel's re-election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week

may prompt attacks from groups sympathetic to the Palestinians


hostile to



its friends.

"The onset of war against Iraq will be another spike of terrorist activity,"

he said.


need to be pounding the headquarters


the training camps

of those international terrorist organizations

such as


which are the most likely ones

to form an alliance


Saddam Hussein