Latin America on Alert for Terror
Governments throughout Mexico and Central America are on alert as evidence grows that al-Qaida members are traveling in the region and looking for recruits to carry out attacks in Latin America — the potential last frontier for international terrorism. The territory could be a perfect staging ground for Osama bin Laden’s militants, with homegrown rebel groups, drug and people smugglers, and corrupt governments. U.S. officials have long feared al-Qaida could launch an attack from south of the border, and they have been paying closer attention as the number of terror-related incidents has increased since last year. The strongest possible al-Qaida link is Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a 29-year-old Saudi pilot suspected of being a terrorist cell leader. The FBI issued a border-wide alert earlier this month for Shukrijumah, saying he may try to cross into Arizona or Texas. In June, Honduran officials said Shukrijumah was spotted earlier this year at an Internet cafe in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Panamanian officials say the pilot and alleged bombmaker passed through their country before the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.