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U.S. officials chase purported Sept. 11 terrorist threat

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials scrambled Friday to identify and find three men who supposedly planned to travel to the United States from Afghanistan to detonate car bombs on bridges or in tunnels during the Sept. 11 anniversary weekend in New York and Washington, D.C. 

Officials said they obtained specific and credible, but uncorroborated, intelligence earlier this week that two or three individuals with close ties to Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan had entered the United States in a plot to disrupt events planned to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The men were said to have crossed by land from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and then boarded a series of flights bound for the U.S., possibly connecting through Dubai International Airport, according to a source who is familiar with the intelligence and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

Al Qaeda’s new leader and Osama bin Laden’s former top aide, Ayman Zawahiri, is believed to have personally signed off on the plans, the source said.

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