Are there conceptual similarities in the terrorism
employed in the plot to destroy the World Trade Center
in New York in 1993 and the plot to destroy Radio Free
Europe in Prague in 1998?
Yes, in at least 3 respects:
1) Both plots planned to use truck bombs against symbolic
American targets in the hearts of heavily-populated
cities, where, if successful, they would inflict massive
The 1993 conspirators in New York parked a Ford Econoline
cargo van loaded with 1500 pounds of urea-nitrate based
explosives in the parking garage of North Tower of the
World Trade Center on February 26, 1993. It tore a huge
hole in the north tower, killing 6 people, and injuring
about one thousand.
The 1998 conspirators in Prague planned to use a similar
truck bomb loaded with explosives to collapse the headquarters
of Radio Free Europe. The facility, located in the former
Czech Parliament building on Wenceslas Square, is adjacent
to the busiest cross-town thoroughfare in Prague. The
bombing, if carried out at midday, could have been expected
to inflict Bali-scale casualties on civilians in the
area. (As it turned out, the plot was aborted when the
intelligence officer supervising it defected to British
2) At the most visible level, both plots were designed
to use Islamic jihadists to transport and detonate the
truck bombs so that their would be no tracks, or fingerprints,
other those of the jihadists. The 1993 New York conspirators
used Palestine and Egyptian Arabs living in New Jersey
to park the truck in the garage of the World Trade Center.
The 1998 Prague conspirators attempted to recruit free-lance
Arab terrorists to position the truck bomb against he
supporting columns of Radio Free Europe.
3) At a less visible level, conspirators in both plots
received support from a state, if not state-sponsorship.
The attempted bombing of Radio Free Europe was planned,
organized and directed by the Iraqi intelligence service.
The Iraqi official in charge was Jabir Salim, the Iraqi
consul in the Czech Republic, and the head of its intelligence
station. Salim had been sent $150,000 in two payments
by Baghdad to buy untraceable explosives and recruit
Arab free-lance terrorists that would provide the cover
for Iraq. In December 1998, however, Salim defected
and furnished details of the plot to western intelligence
The conspirators of the 1993 attack on the World Trade
Center, Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi, and Ramzi Yousef,
a Baluchi, received at least logistical support in their
escape from New York. Yasin was given sanctuary in Iraq
(where he presently resides, even though he is on President
Bush's most wanted list). Ramzi Yousef's escape from
New York was facilitated by false documentation. He
had a passport in the name of Abdul Basit Mahmood Abdul
Karim, which could only have been created and supplied
by the Iraqi intelligence service, as Laurie Mylroie
documents in her book, Study of Revenge.
For this false documentation, or "legend," the Iraq
intelligence officers needed Kuwait's Interior Ministry
files, which were in Iraqi custody during the six month
occupation of Kuwait. These records contained the biographical
data about the real (and probably dead) Abdul Basit
Mahmood Abdul Karim. The Iraqis then inserted into these
records the real fingerprints of Yousef, so Yousef's
identity would trace back to Kuwait. The Iraq government
would have to authorize the preparation of such a legend,
since it controlled Kuwait's Interior Ministry files.
So both upper-echelon conspirators who escaped from
New York after the attack were aided by Iraq.