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Monday, May 17, 2010
Iraq detains suspect in World Cup plot

Associated Press

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi security forces have detained an al-Qaida militant suspected of planning an attack targeting the World Cup in South Africa next month, an official said Monday.

Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Baghdad security services, said Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani was an officer in the Saudi army. He is suspected of planning a "terrorist act" in South Africa during the World Cup beginning June 11, al-Moussawi told a news conference in Baghdad.

He said al-Qahtani entered Iraq in 2004 and is suspected in several attacks in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

In South Africa, a police spokesman said Iraq has not notified them of the arrest.

"We have not received any official reports from them," Vish Naidoo told The Associated Press. "Whatever arrest they made there, they know, we don't know anything about it."

Earlier Monday, South African police paraded fire engines, armored carriers and other vehicles through Johannesburg to show they were ready to secure the country for the World Cup.

"South Africa will be hosting the whole world, and therefore will take no chances," Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

In Iraq, attacks blamed on al-Qaida have continued despite the killing last month of the group's two top figures in a U.S.-assisted military operation.

Violence in Iraq has fallen dramatically over the past few years, though Sunnis who have revolted against al-Qaida in Iraq or are perceived as cooperating with the Shiite-led government are often targeted.