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MONITORING JIHADI THREATS: BALTIMORE TUNNELS & MORE

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 18, 2005 12:08 PM

***Scroll for updates…200pmEDT specifics on threat reported..ties to a local Middle Eastern market in Baltimore…355pm EDT update Jeff Quinton with more details on the market…10/19 ABC News casts doubt on threat…CNN: Threat from the Netherlands…***

The Counterterrorism Blog has breaking news on a possible threat to Baltimore tunnels. Feds are doubting the info, as they did with the NYC subway threat. Will keep an eye on developments. This one may be a false alarm, but local officials are right to take it seriously. I’ve noted Baltimore-area terror plots here (CNN’s report on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s purported plans to blow up Baltimore gas stations is here) and here. FBI most wanted al Qaeda suspect Aafia Siddiqui had “rented had a post-office box to help another Baltimore-based Al Qaeda contact who had been assigned by Mohammed to blow up underground gasoline-storage tanks,” according to a Newsweek article earlier this spring.

***

Here’s the latest from WBAL:

Maryland Department of Transportation police have closed sections of the Fort McHenry Tunnel and closed the Harbor Tunnel for a security precaution late Tuesday morning.

Pictures show that police are stopping and examining larger vehicles around the Fort McHenry tunnel.

WBAL-TV 11 News reporter Jayne Miller said police are acting on information concerning the Baltimore tunnels that has been gathered over the past several days. Miller said police emphasize that they are showing “an abundance of caution” in undertaking this operation.

Images from Newschopper 11 showed several officers walking around with weapons drawn at the mouth of the Fort McHenry tunnel. Traffic is flowing slowly through the outside tubes at the Fort McHenry.

Pictures also showed traffic at a complete standstill leading to the Harbor Tunnel. Police are diverting traffic off I-895.

Police have also closed many ramps leading to the interstates around the tunnels.

It is uncertain how long this operation will go on.

Federal officials told WBAL-TV 11 News reporter David Collins that they may or may not be searching for a specific vehicle.

And the latest on the traffic situation inside I-695 Beltway, incl. Ft McHenry Tunnel and I-395, as of 12:19pm EDT:

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The Baltimore Sun has filed a report, adding more details about the kinds of vehicles being searched–tractor-trailers and vans.

AP coverage at Breitbart.com.

200pm EDT update
(hat tip: cantonnews.com). CBS affilate WJZ in Baltimore is reporting:

(WJZ) Eyewitness News has learned that there may be a link between a Middle Eastern market in Southeast Baltimore and the alleged threat to Baltimore’s tunnels.

Sources say two men affiliated with the Koko market on Eastern and Dundalk avenues are in FBI custody and authorities are looking for a third person.

State and federal authorities have been investigating Koko’s since last Thursday when word of a possible threat began to surface.

The terrorist plot reportedly involved a delivery truck from the Koko market being driven into one of Baltimore’s tunnels under the Inner Harbor loaded with explosives and left there to detonate…

355pm EDT. Jeff Quinton has been digging up public records on the Koko market. He has info on the registered owner.

10/19 update. ABC News’ Brian Ross says a “love triangle” may be what triggered the alert.

CNN reports that the threat came from the Netherlands.

Four Middle Eastern men are being detained.

Unlike the NYC subway incident, the feds are not trashing local and state officials for playing it safe.

***

Meanwhile, a trial date has been set for the California men accused of plotting terrorist attacks on military facilities and synagogues in the US.

You can read the indictment here.

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