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Saudi Army Officer Held In Iraq Over Suspected Plot To Target World Cup Football

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A Saudi military officer has been nabbed by Iraqi authorities over past terrorist attacks in Iraq and for involvement in an alleged al-Qaeda plot to attack World Cup football matches beginning in South Africa in June, a Defense spokesperson told media on Monday.

Colonel Azzam al-Qahtani also called Sanan al-Saudi is believed to have entered Iraq in 2004 and was reportedly involved in an attack on Karbala and Najaf, two of Shia Muslims holiest shrines, according to Iraqi General Qassem Atta.

Iraqi security officials said al-Qahtani conspired with Manaf al-Rawy, al-Qaeda's 'governor' in Baghdad who was arrested two weeks ago, and the two along with Osama Bin Laden's deputy and al-Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, allegedly planned attacks at World Cup venues.

Meanwhile, South African police said they were investigating reports of the alleged al-Qaeda plot to target World Cup football.

But a police spokesman said in Jo'Burg that he was unaware of any such plot and was still making inquiries while a spokesman for the national police commissioner denied knowledge of al-Qahtani's arrest.

On Monday, South African police and Army performed a mock- security drill to showcase their readiness to ensure safety for the mega event which will kick off on June 11.

Until now violent crimes were seen as the biggest threat to the soccer carnival since the country has one of highest crime rates in the world with some 50 people being killed daily.

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