FBI: Suicide Bombs in U.S. 'Inevitable'

ByABC News
May 20, 2002, 1:43 AM

May 20 -- FBI Director Robert Mueller today warned that suicide bomb attacks in the United States are "inevitable," and sources told ABCNEWS al Qaeda and other terror groups have met to discuss joining forces against America and the West.

Leaders of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's terror network, met in a summit with leaders of two Middle Eastern militant groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as a number of other groups linked to terrorism in late March, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials told ABCNEWS.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for many of the suicide bomb attacks against Israel. Lebanon-based Hezbollah led a guerrilla war against Israel's occupation of territory in southern Lebanon, and is blamed for the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 American servicemen.

At the Lebanon meeting, the three groups discussed tactics and the possibility of an unprecedented level of joint activity, U.S. officials said, including a possible new round of attacks against America, Great Britain, and other targets.

The March secret summit means bin Laden's group and the others put aside rivalries to work together, officials said.

"It suggests a new departure which is very startling and dangerous because they have not worked together before," said Vince Cannistraro, an ABCNEWS expert and former CIA counterterrorism chief.

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Suicide Bombings in the U.S. 'Inevitable'

Mueller, the FBI director, said today he expected terrorists to mount "walk-in" suicide bombing attacks in the United States, in which militants would strap explosives to themselves and detonate them in public spaces.

"I think we will see that in the future; I think it's inevitable," Mueller said in response to a question during a speech to a meeting of the National Association of District Attorneys in suburban Alexandria, Va.

"I wish I could be more optimistic," he said.