Washington – The same al-Qaeda-linked group that attempted to send bombs on cargo planes earlier this year considered putting poison in food served at US hotels and restaurants, US media reported.
US intelligence officials told CNN yesterday that the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were considering poisoning food supplies with the deadly chemicals ricin and cyanide.
The Department of Homeland Security however also emphasised the threat was akin to the plots discussed in numerous online jihadist publications, where militants and their sympathizers routinely consider ways to attack western interests.
“We’re talking months, not weeks (ago), that this came into the threat stream,” an official told CNN.
An anonymous source in the US intelligence community told CBS News earlier this week that the threat was “credible”.
Authorities have met with representatives in the hotel and restaurant industry to discuss the threat and “best practices” for ensuring food safety, according to CNN.
Al-Qaeda has “publicly stated its intention to try to carry out unconventional attacks for well over a decade, and AQAP propaganda in the past year has made similar reference,” said DHS spokesperson Sean Smith in a statement to CNN.
“We get reports about the different kinds of attacks terrorists would like to carry out that frequently are beyond their assessed capability,” Smith said.