UPDATE Jan 21st 2009
According to stratfor:
Algeria is one of the many areas where plague occurs naturally, and the country experiences periodic outbreaks of the disease. In 2003, there was an outbreak of plague in Algeria’s Oran province. In that outbreak, there were 11 confirmed and seven suspected cases of plague. All the cases in that episode were bubonic, indicating it was likely spread by fleas.
That said, it is possible that AQIM members were experimenting with plague as a weapon, and plague could be employed on a limited scale by infecting some suicide operatives with pneumonic plague and then sending them around to hopefully cough or sneeze on victims, or perhaps to release some infected fleas against a target area. However, either scenario is unlikely to produce mass casualties. Y. pestis might be effectively delivered against a smaller number of people. The early symptoms of pneumonic plague can be mistaken for the flu, and if the victims do not seek immediate medical attention the disease can be fatal.
The above two paragraphs are the limit of what I can post from Stratfor reports on various issues. For anyone wishing to read the whole report for proper context I recommend highly joining Stratfor.com
THE al-Qaeda cell wiped out by Black Death may have infected ITSELF while developing biological weapons, it emerged last night.
The terrorists planned to wreak havoc on Western targets but fell victims to their own weapon, a leading expert on chemical warfare believes.
The Sun revealed yesterday that Black Death, also called the Plague, killed at least 40 fanatics at a terror training camp in Algeria earlier this month.
It was thought they caught the disease through poor living conditions in their forest hideouts.
But Dr Igor Khrupinov, of Georgia University, said: “Al-Qaeda is known to experiment with biological weapons. And this group has direct communication with other cells around the world.
“Contagious diseases, like ebola and anthrax, occur in northern Africa. It makes sense that people are trying to use them against Western governments.”
Dr Khrupinov, once arms adviser to Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, added: “Instead of using bombs, people with infectious diseases could be walking through cities.”
Black Death HAS been researched as a biological weapon before.
And al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden’s fanatics were experimenting with anthrax in Afghanistan in 2001.
Last year it was revealed 100 suspected terrorists tried to become students in Britain, giving them access to labs.
In 2006 a plot to poison London’s water was unmasked.
Ian Kearns, of the Institute for Public Policy Research, said: “The biological weapons threat is not going away. We’re not ready for it.”