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New York Officials Get Advice From an Expert on Al Qaeda

A terrorism expert who has studied Al Qaeda for nearly 10 years lectured hundreds of senior New York City police officials yesterday about the group, providing his view of how it operates and how it has adapted to changes in counterterrorism strategies in recent years, several of the officials said. The expert, Rohan Gunaratna, who flew to New York from Singapore on Sunday night to deliver the lecture at 1 Police Plaza, also provided a more detailed briefing to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, his senior aides and three top aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one official said. In the smaller session, he described what he said was the terrorist group’s efforts to encourage its operatives to use poisons to kill large numbers of people. He also displayed photos of specialized boats that Al Qaeda had designed for suicide attacks against ships. But Mr. Gunaratna, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, contended that increased information flowing from intelligence agencies and the F.B.I. to the Police Department combined with greater public awareness had made it more difficult for Al Qaeda to launch an attack in New York, officials at the larger meeting said. Full Story

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