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Monday, February 20, 2006

al Qaeda bomb maker in Turkey discovered by the WaPo

WaPo discovers Louai Sakka, the man who would bomb Israeli cruise ships and more here:
He showed up in Antalya last summer with tens of thousands of dollars in cash and a face altered by plastic surgery. After his arrest, he told investigators he had planned to die steering a yacht laden with explosives into a cruise ship he believed was filled with U.S. soldiers and which was already approaching across the turquoise Mediterranean.

The attack, just 48 hours away when the chemicals ignited, was intended to crown a wide-ranging career in terrorism. Sakka played a role in the so-called millennium plot to attack hotels in Amman, Jordan, on Dec. 31, 1999. Turkish prosecutors also describe him as the planner of the 2003 truck bombings that killed 57 people in Istanbul, financed with $160,000 in al Qaeda funds...

...In Antalya, Sakka spent lavishly preparing for the attack. Using an alias, he put down $60,000 on a villa in the Beldibi neighborhood, insisting on the unit closest to the beach, with a panoramic view of the resort city and its harbor. "His criterion was it had to be directly on the water, no matter what the price was," said Mehmet Yildirim, the watchman.

The two-bedroom Apt. 1703 was closer to town, in a complex overlooking the marina where Sakka moored a 27-foot yacht, the Tufan. On board was diving equipment and a submersible water scooter, capable of running for 45 minutes at a depth of 75 feet.

Karahan said Sakka spent days chatting with Israeli tourists, who flocked to the Turkish coast in summer, and learned the precise arrival time and route of the ship he planned to attack as it approached Antalya. In a rented Hyundai, he ferried the ingredients for a one-ton bomb -- hydrogen peroxide, aluminum powder, acetone -- from the port city of Mersin. Then he scoured Antalya's industrial zone for a shop that worked with chrome.

Sakka needed someone to build a distiller, a glorified pressure cooker to concentrate the hydrogen.
The guy was captured back in August 2005 as was noted at the time here

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