US petroleum sector may be terrorist target
May 28, 2002 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson, Editor
The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) has issued a warning that terrorists may be targeting terminals and other petroleum facilities in the United States. Individuals responsible for transportation security are urged to exercise extra vigilance with regard to their operations.
The US government has unconfirmed information that as of mid April terrorist groups allegedly were targeting US petroleum terminals, pipelines, refineries, and ships. In addition, law enforcement and intelligence agencies received indications that Islamic fundamentalists are actively seeking detailed information on US oil company operations and assessing the possible impact of oil disruptions on the US economy.
The NIPC warning comes on the heels of an attempted bombing on May 23 of a tank truck at Israel’s largest petroleum terminal. A bomb attached to the truck chassis reportedly was detonated by a mobile telephone. Security guards at the depot failed to spot the bomb when they inspected the truck.
When the bomb was detonated, the truck was about 300 feet from a storage tank. Diesel fuel spilling from the cargo tank was ignited by the blast, but the flames were extinguished before they could spread to storage tanks containing millions of gallons of refined petroleum products. Tel Aviv Police Chief Yossi Sedbon said all indications are that this was a terrorist attack and that a huge disaster was averted.
Located near the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon, the terminal is in a heavily populated area. The terminal has been closed until further notice.
This is the second Mideast terrorist incident involving a tank truck this year. The first incident occurred in Tunisia on April 11. A natural gas bobtail was blown up outside a synagogue killing 12 people, most of them German tourists. A group affiliated with Al Quaida took credit for the incident.