Qaeda denies plotting World Cup attack

BAGHDAD - Al-Qaeda’s front group in Iraq on Tuesday denied plotting attacks against the football World Cup in South Africa next month, deriding as “fantasies” Iraq’s claims that it was doing so.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 25 May 2010, 10:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:00 AM

The Islamic State of Iraq’s statement, posted on jihadi web forum, comes around a week after an Iraqi security spokesman announced that a captured Saudi Al-Qaeda militant had confessed to planning attacks against the tournament, which kicks off on June 11.

“We completely deny this claim,” said the statement from ISI’s “information ministry” on the Al-Dawla site.

It added that the Saudi man who Iraqi security forces said had been planning the attacks, 30-year-old Abdullah Azzam Saleh Misfar al-Qahtani, was not a member of the organisation.

“We expected the media imbeciles of the government of the Green Zone to exploit the death of our two martyrs to launch a series of lies about their imaginary victories,” it added, referring to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayub al-Masri, two Al-Qaeda leaders who were killed last month.

“But no one imagined that they would extend their fantasies and security ambitions to Johannesburg and the World Cup in South Africa.”

The group’s description of the Iraqi government as the “government of the Green Zone” was a claim that the authorities only exercise control over Baghdad’s heavily fortified government and diplomatic centre.

Football’s governing body said last week that no terror threats against the World Cup had been uncovered by any intelligence agency working with it.

Reports indicated that Qahtani was targeting the Danish and Dutch teams in response to perceived insults against the Muslim prophet Mohammed in Denmark and the Netherlands.

The Netherlands has said it received intelligence reports of “a threat against Dutch interests in South Africa” and amended its terror alert for travel to the World Cup host nation.

The Danish embassy in Pretoria said Danish security officials were working closely with their South African counterparts to address any threat.

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