SAN FRANCISCO INT’L AIRPORT (KPIX 5) — A picture of San Francisco International Airport has been prominently placed in a propaganda magazine published by al-Qaida. Meanwhile, the FBI insists there is no specific threat to the Bay Area.
In the spring issue of the al-Qaida magazine “Inspire,” a picture of the AirTrain at SFO is featured prominently. The AirTrain connects all the airport terminals with BART, terminal garages and the rental car center.
Below the photo, a caption in Arabic reads, “…stand up, pack your tools of destruction. Assemble your bomb, ready for detonation.”
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“The San Francisco area is depicted in this al-Qaida publication,” said East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell. He raised the issue in a Homeland Security committee hearing Wednesday in Washington.
“What we believe from what senior law enforcement officials have told us is that this is AirTrain from San Francisco’s airport, and that the translation from the Arabic message encourages al-Qaida members to detonate explosive devices.”
An FBI spokesman told KPIX 5 there is no direct threat to SFO or the Bay Area.
“Scares the heck out of me, you just don’t know when it could happen, it could happen any place,” said Rich Brown of Sausalito, who was traveling through the airport Wednesday night.
“I mean I think there should be some concern. I don’t’ know if I’d change any travel plans based on this,” said former FBI agent Rick Smith, who is now a security expert.
Smith said the message appears to be a call to action.
“They’re not appealing to al-Qaida members so much as wannabes or local talent or amateurs. But those people can be dangerous if you look at the Boston Marathon,” Smith said, referring to the bombings at the finish line of last year’s race.
Police said the Boston Marathon bombers used instructions from the same magazine to build their homemade pressure cooker bombs.