Al-Qaida Targeting the World Cup
An al-Qaida militant has been detained by Iraqi police, suspected of planning an attack on the World Cup. The event, which is a month-long tournament to determine the best soccer team in the world, will take place next month in South Africa.
Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani is a former officer in the Saudi army, and is a suspect in several terrorist attacks within Iraq, including two suicide bombings south of Baghdad.
Al-Qahtani has reportedly been recruited by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is second in command to Osama bin Laden. Al-Qahtani is said to be the security chief for his local branch of al-Qaida.
Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Baghdad security services, said that al-Qahtani is suspected in planning a “terrorist act” during the World Cup, which begins June 11.
While no mention has been made of the plot itself or how developed it was, there may be some indicators. Last month a jihadist website in North Africa published a statement which suggested an attack might be made during England’s opening game against the United States.
Vish Naidoo, a police spokesperson in South Africa, said Iraq has not notified them of the arrest or sent any official reports.
Meanwhile, South Africa has paraded their security vehicles through the streets of Johannesburg, though the measures are mostly aimed at managing and reducing violent crime. They say there are “precautions” against terrorist attacks, but no further detail has been given on those plans.