Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bombing in Oklahoma Downplayed

A suicide bomber detonated a bomb outside a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma last night. Authorities claim it appeared to be a suicide attempt, however they seem to be ignoring - or at least downplaying - the fact that a second device that was found and detonated later that same evening. (CNN: Explosion outside college football game).

The site of the football game was Norman, Oklahoma. That city is well known to al Qaeda terrorists. In July 2000, Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi visited the Airman Flight School in Norman. Two months later, Zacarias Moussaoui contacted that same flight school. The following February, Moussaoui opened a bank account in Norman, Oklahoma and then attended flight school at the Airman Flight School from February to May, 2001. It was also in Norman that Moussaoui made inquiries about starting a crop dusting company. Moussaoui was in Norman at least through August 2001, having made numerous calls from public phones in that city to a number in Dusseldorf, Germany.

So far, there is no evidence that the explosion is tied to terrorism or the al Qaeda network. The location of the explosion makes it highly suspicious, however. About all that's coming out of the OK campus right now is more rumor than fact. What is most curious, however, are reports that the second device that was detonated by police was found at the same location as the first explosion. Several students at the game reported seeing two men run into the stadium and immediately split into opposite directions right after the blast. The students were interviewed by local police, however no comments have been released.

Given past al Qaeda activity in Norman, OK, this news bears watching. It may well have been an isolated incident. Then again, it may have been an attempt to cause damage at a packed college football game - a sport that routinely outdraws the NFL every weekend. Panicked fans in the stadium could cause more damage and deaths than the actual bomb. Stay tuned on this one. I suspect there's a lot more to this story than has been released so far.


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