Muscat: A top Interpol officer yesterday said that law enforcement agencies around the world should be prepared for a bioterrorist attack.

"Al Qaida could use chemical or biological weapons to perpetrate its terrorist actions," said Ronald K. Noble, Interpol Secretary General, to Gulf News on the sidelines of the Interpol Workshop on Preventing Bioterrorism, at a hotel here.

He said that the training material recovered from Al Qaida and information gathered from some of their captured operatives have convinced the world law enforcement community that the terrorist outfit has had plans to use chemical and biological weapons in their actions.

Matter of time

"Nobody really knows when Al Qaida will strike with chemical or biological weapons but it is just a matter of time before the terrorists believe they are ready," he said, adding that the only restraints the terrorists were facing was the technical complexity of operating them properly and effectively.

Justifying the fears of bioterrorism, Noble said: "In Iraq there have been no fewer than three chlorine bomb attacks, targeting innocent civilians, in the recent past. It is not difficult to imagine these attacks being extended from chemical to biological."