Foiled terrorist plot in Jordan shows resurgent Iraqi al-Qaeda
Evidence shared by Jordanian security authorities showed that a terrorist cell received guidance from AQI in an effort to bomb shopping malls, cars, cafes and the U.S. Embassy. Analysts said that the branch is rebounding after being all but wiped out by U.S. troops in the last decade, the Washington Post reports.
"You have a well-developed infrastructure that is only getting stronger," Bruce Hoffman, a former counterterrorism scholar-in-residence at the CIA, said, according to the Washington Post. "It's not like the 'underwear bomber,' where al-Qaeda enlists amateurs in sophisticated terrorist operations. You're talking about people with experience - perhaps not the 'A Team' but close to it.
The terrorist plot was revealed by Jordanian officials on October 21. Eleven Jordanians with easy access to weapons from Syria planned to bomb two of Amman's largest shopping centers, followed by attacks on luxury hotels and a large assault on the U.S. Embassy and the city's Abdoun district.
Jordanian intelligence operatives penetrated the cell and rounded up the 11 suspected members, their weapons and their documents in mid-October.
"Luckily, this last attempt was foiled," Hoffman said, according to the Washington Post. "But al-Qaeda will continue to play the odds, with the hope that eventually they will succeed."
As AQI begins to reemerge, other al-Qaeda affiliates such as groups in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic Maghreb, are also on the rise, the Washington Post reports.