Terror plan for Pretoria

2011-06-18 00:00

THE United States embassy in Pretoria investigated a threat from an Al-Qaeda splinter group in 2008 who allegedly planned to fly a plane, loaded with explosives, into the embassy building.

The alleged threat is contained in a “field report” that forms part of a series of WikiLeaks documents that has not yet been made public.

It states that a pilot, Assan Shuaib Munir, would have executed the alleged attack on a direct order from Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was yesterday announced as Al-Qaeda’s new leader after the U.S. assassination of Osama bin Laden.

The threat was made a year before the U.S. embassy and several other U.S. government buildings in South Africa were locked for three days after another bomb-plane threat, reportedly from Al-Shabaab, a Somali terror group with links to Al-Qaeda.

The 2008 threat was linked to a group operating from Morocco, named Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The field report states that the alleged attack was planned for early November 2008 at about 9.45 am.

A database with details of terror suspects, contained no information about Munir. The report’s compiler states that it was doubtful that AQIM would have approved an attack on South Africa.

A spokesperson for the embassy, Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau, said the U.S. Department of Foreign Afffairs, as a rule, does not comment on leaked documents.

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