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UN: Al-Qaeda Remains Significant Threat

United Nations, 26 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A panel of UN experts warns that the Al-Qaeda terrorist group remains a threat to international security despite some progress in global counterterrorism efforts. The five-member panel said in a draft report released today that the threat is apparent after recent bombings in Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, Morocco, and Afghanistan.

It reported the emergence of what it called a "third generation" of Al-Qaeda, composed of young Muslim extremists recruited after the organization was ousted from Afghanistan with the defeat of the Taliban. The terrorist group continued to receive funding from the illicit drug trade, false charities, and rich donors, after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States.

There has been success in apprehending some of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants, said the report, but there is a long way to go to improve coordination of counterterrorism efforts.

The chairman of the panel, Michael Chandler, said today that his group has seen no evidence indicating links between Al-Qaeda and the previous Iraqi regime. He said his panel is investigating new reports of Al-Qaeda activity in Iran and for the first time has added a Chechen to its list of Al-Qaeda members under sanction.