Yemeni soldiers fire a rocket during an offensive against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in May. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul says al-Qaida still has plans to target airliners. (STR/ / AFP)
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WASHINGTON — Al-Qaida remains intent on attacking airliners and is developing explosive devices capable of eluding airport metal detectors, says a senior US lawmaker.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Tuesday that intelligence shows the violent Islamic group, 13 years after its 9/11 attacks in America, still has its eyes on “blowing up airplanes.”
That group and even more violent ones, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), “control more territory than ever,” after the latter recently captured large swaths of northern Iraq. And the former has morphed and spread across north Africa and the Middle East, he warned.
The Obama administration has described al-Qaida as “on the run,” with a much-weakened core leadership cell in Pakistan. The administration also often touts its drone strikes and commando raids that have allegedly killed leaders and other members of al-Qaida offshoots in places like Yemen, Somalia and Libya.
But McCaul sees al-Qaida and other groups as stronger today than they were a few years ago.
He warned that al-Qaida is developing a new generation of weapons that it wants to use in attacks inside the United States. Specifically, he warned the group is developing “non-metallic bombs” that could evade airport security detection, and be used in attacks inside the United States. ■