Sunday, August 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Plot to target Sydney N-reactor uncovered

AUCKLAND, Aug 26 (AFP) — A terrorist plot targeting a nuclear reactor in Sydney during the Olympic Games has been thwarted, New Zealand police said today.

Afghan sympathisers of wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden planned to attack the 42-year-old Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney’s south, New Zealand detectives said.

The report comes just a day after the International Olympic Committee withdrew an invitation to Afghanistan’s hardline Taliban militia to send two official observers to the Olympics.

The Weekly Herald said its sources revealed members of what appeared to be a clandestine cell of Afghan refugees in Auckland granted New Zealand residency “continue to maintain direct telephone links with suspected terrorist organisations in their strife-torn homeland.”

Detectives in Auckland stumbled on the apparent reactor conspiracy during an investigation into people-smuggling by organised crime syndicates.

They conducted a series of house raids in March and found evidence suggesting a conspiracy to attack the reactor, situated in a dense residential area.

The lounge of a Mount Albert home was converted into a virtual command centre, complete with conference table and maps, the paper said.

A Sydney street map was found. The site of the reactor, built in 1958 for research purposes and access routes to it were highlighted.

Entries in a notebook outlined police security tactics, standards and chains of command for the Commonwealth Games held in Auckland in 1990.

Agreeing the evidence had sinister overtones, a senior detective told the Herald: “It is circumstantial and suspicious”. Copies of the seized material had been sent to Australia where officers said they had received a full briefing.

“The New South Wales police service is aware of an investigation conducted by New Zealand police into the activities of an organised group in New Zealand,” a NSW police spokesman said.

“As to normal protocols, New Zealand police have fully briefed their NSW counterparts on their findings.” 

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