Iraqi security forces have arrested a former Saudi colonel who plotted with Al-Qaeda’s number two terrorist to blow up the World Cup in South Africa next month.
The 30-year-old suspect, Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani, 30, entered Iraq from Saudi Arabia in 2004 and was in charge of the terrorist network’s security in Baghdad. He was in contact with Al-Qaeda’s number two terrorist, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a plot to attack the World Cup, which begins June 11 and features a match between England and the United States the following day.
Al-Qaeda earlier this year threatened that hundreds of spectators at the soccer championship match would be killed.
South African police said they were not told of the arrest but that they have made necessary security precautions for the World Cup. However, South African police commissioner Bheki Cele that South African police had investigated and decided a threat by Al Shaba'ab, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, was not credible.
Professor Hussein Solomon, head of the International Institute for Islamic Studies at Pretoria University, told The Citizen newspaper in Johannesburg on May 13 that Al-Qaeda has “billions of people watching televisions and they will have no limit of targets. The only way to take on Al-Qaeda is an operation that needs to be driven by intelligence, and our intelligence services have been gutted."
Meanwhile, New York authorities have indicted a second man for allegedly helping Al-Qaeda with computer systems and financial donations. Another suspect was previously arrested on the same charges.