By Alex West

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 [see LLX post 1-19-09] 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 th rough 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 that 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.”

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