MI5 AGENTS are hunting an Al Qaeda terrorist they fear is planning a Day of
the Jackal assassination attempt on the Queen at the Commonwealth summit in
She has already been attacked as an «enemy of Islam» on a video posted on an
Al Qaeda website by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden’s deputy.
The Queen has seen the 22minute film and an MI5 officer said: «It reinforced
her determination to go to Malta.»
The fictional Jackal played by James Fox in the film posed as a crippled
war veteran hiding his rifle in his crutch to try to assassinate French
president Charles de Gaulle.
MI5 fears the real-life Jackal could pose as an aide to one of the 3,000
delegates at the summit, which opens on Friday.
The suspected suicide attacker is a Libyan in his mid-30s who travels on
«He appears to have used a Sudanese passport to visit Malta earlier this
year, » the intelligence officer told the Sunday Express. «We also believe he is
a graduate of an Al Qaeda training school in Afghanistan.»
This week a team of SAS marksmen will fly from their base on Cyprus with
orders to shoot to kill the Jackal if he surfaces. Tension on Malta has
increased after Mossad, Israel’s secret service, warned other security agencies
that the Jackal had «most likely» been smuggled in on one of the high-speed
boats used to bring illegal immigrants from North Africa.
The MI5 officer said: «We have long known the island is a back door into
Europe for terrorists.
The destruction of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie began with a bomb
assembled and smuggled out of Malta.»
The first hint of a plot to attack the Queen emerged when security officers
raided a flat in St David’s Bay and found Al Qaeda training manuals, detailed
maps of the summit area and a copy of al-Zawahiri’s video. The references to the
Queen were jotted in a notebook. There were also detailed descriptions of the
coast near the Golden Sands complex where the summit will take place.
The discovery has raised the spectre that other Al Qaeda terrorists will
stage a diversionary attack from the sea while the Jackal carries out his
«Because of the threat, the Ministry of Defence has provided the aircraft
carrier Illustrious and a team from the Special Boat Service to guard against
suicide attacks by speedboats, » the MI5 officer said.
The MoD has confirmed their presence for «security reasons».
Mossad, which maintains a strong presence on the island to watch for threats
against Israel, has discovered that a month ago rocket-propelled grenades were
stolen from an old Soviet arms depot in Kazakhstan. «Launched from out at sea an
RPG could do considerable damage to the summit headquarters, » said a Mossad
officer in Tel Aviv.
The MI5 officer said: «We are giving the Maltese a crash course in how to
handle the threat.» But Vincent Fean, Britain’s high commissioner on the island,
has been told the Maltese authorities are insisting that security will be
exclusively in Maltese hands.
It was just such a who-does-what problem that enabled the Jackal in the movie
to get close to killing his target.
Sunday Express, November 20, 2005 Sunday