A group calling itself the Islamic Emirate of Libya posted a notice online Tuesday listing the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli as a possible target of a terror attack coinciding with the anniversary this week of the Sept.11 terrorist attacks.
The group stated in an Arabic language posting on Facebook Monday that it was asking viewers to select a target for a bombing to be carried out this week to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks by al Qaeda.
An al Qaeda-linked group, Ansar al-Sharia, also has been linked to the terrorist attacks a year ago in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. The attackers burned a diplomatic compound and CIA annex during the attack, which was initially described by the Obama administration as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube video.
“With the approach of the global day of horror for the infidels and the apostates—September 11—there will be a bombing,” the posting stated.
One of the three “options” for the attack was listed as “the American Embassy” in Tripoli.
A U.S. official had no immediate comment on the threat.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that because of tensions in Syria and the 9/11 anniversary, “we’ve also got forces at heightened states of alert and readiness throughout the region.”
The group Islamic Emirate of Libya is relatively unknown. Analysts said the group may be an al Qaeda affiliate first reported in Darna in 2011.
A Libyan government official told European ambassadors in Tripoli in February 2011 that the Islamic Emirate of Libya was located in Darna, known as a hotbed for jihadist groups.
The group was headed by former Guantanamo detainee Abdelkarim al-Hasadi and Kheirallah Baraassi, another al Qaeda operative based in al-Baida, about 60 miles west of Darna.
Another target included on the list is the “National Congress,” a reference to Libya’s General National Congress, the current Libyan government ruling forum headed by Nouri Abusahmain, the de facto head of state.
The congress is currently located at the Ghabat Al Nasr Convention Center in Tripoli.
A third target was the al-Saiqah Camp in Benghazi, once a base used by the intelligence service of the ousted regime of Muammar Gadhafi to train international terrorists.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials described Internet chatter related to the 9/11 anniversary as muted.
Al Qaeda, the group behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that killed 3,000 people, has not issued a statement on the attack as of Tuesday.
Al Qaeda has published video or audio propaganda statements on the anniversary in the past.
Several prominent jihadists posted comments on Twitter praising the 9/11 attacks and defending them from critics.
An Egyptian jihadist posted biographies of several of the 19 terrorists who hijacked four commercial aircraft.
One jihadist rejected Internet claims that al Qaeda did not carry out the attacks.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government reported this week that it had no credible or specific information on terrorist plots coinciding with the 9/11 anniversary, according to a threat assessment reported by the Associated Press.
The assessment said intelligence agencies remain concerned that al Qaeda and affiliated groups remain determined to conduct attacks on western targets.
However, the report said it had no specific data on plots.