Cave-Dwelling Algerian Al Qaeda Fighters Reportedly Die of Plague
"Plague is a deadly infectious disease caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis (Pasteurella pestis). Plague is a zoonotic, primarily carried by rodents (most notably rats) and spread to humans via fleas. Plague is notorious throughout history, due to the unprecedented scale of death and devastation it brought. Plague is still endemic in some parts of the world."--Wikipedia, "Plague" [See also Bubonic Plague]
The London Telegraph (1-19-09) reports that at least 40 cave-dwelling Al Qaeda operatives have died of the plague in Algeria and that the disease may have spread to other Al Qaeda training camps or to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Terrorist leaders reportedly fear that their fighters will surrender to government authorities in order to avoid dying of the plague:
The disease, which struck Europe in the Middle Ages killing more than 25 million people, has swept through a training camp for insurgents in Algeria.
The arrival of the plague was discovered when security forces found the body of a dead terrorist by a roadside, the Sun reports.
The victim belonged to the large al-Qaeda network AQLIM (al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb).
A security source told the paper: "This is the deadliest weapon yet in the war against terror. Most of the terrorists do not have the basic medical supplies needed to treat the disease.
"It spreads It spreads quickly and kills within hours. This will be really worrying al-Qaeda."
Black Death comes in various forms and was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history when it struck in the 1340s killing 75 million people across North Africa, Asia and Europe.
Bubonic Plague is spread by bites from infected rat fleas. Symptoms include painful boils in the groin, neck and armpits. In Pneumonic Plague, airborn bacteria spread like flu. Without medication it can be deadly.
The new epidemic began in the cave hideouts of AQLIM in Tizi Ouzou province, 150km east of the capital Algiers, the Sun reports.
The group, led by wanted terror figure Abdelmalek Droudkal, was forced to turn its shelters in the Yakouren forest into mass graves and flee.
The group now fears the highly-infectious disease could have spread to other al-Qaeda training camps or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the paper said.
A source said: "The emirs (leaders) fear surviving terrorists will surrender to escape a horrible death."