NEWS

Greece given warning of al Qaeda plot

Greece is on the alert in case of a terrorist attack after members of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network who were captured in Lebanon reportedly confessed to planning an attack in Greece, Foreign Minister George Papandreou revealed yesterday. This followed reports that Papandreou had informed his Cabinet colleagues on Thursday that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency had warned Athens about the possibility of an attack by al Qaeda. It was not clear whether the targets in Greece were Greek or American or belonging to any other country. «It is true that we received a telegram from Lebanon referring to al Qaeda detainees in Lebanon who revealed that they were planning a terrorist attack in Greece,» Papandreou told reporters. «We are on the alert.» Asked for more details, he added: «We do not know the names of these prisoners. They are not considered suspects in Greece.» This was the first official mention of the possibility of the terrorist network planning anything in Greece. Possible targets were placed under increased security following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Meanwhile, in Bosnia, six Arab men with suspected ties to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups were turned over to US forces yesterday and could become the first prisoners from outside Afghanistan sent to the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Associated Press reported from Sarajevo. The men were suspected of involvement either with the Armed Islamic Group, an Algerian terrorist organization, or with the Egyptian terrorist organization al-Gamaa al-Islamiya. One of the men, Bensayah Belkacem, was arrested based on foreign intelligence reports that he allegedly made telephone calls to an aide of bin Laden. The others, Mustafa Adir, Sabir Lamar, Muhamed Nehle, Lakdar Bumedien and Budelah Hadz, were arrested after British and US officials in Bosnia briefly closed their embassies here, citing credible security threats. Most of the men worked for various Islamic humanitarian agencies in Bosnia, and one of the men had Algerian, Bosnian and Yemeni passports. «The Bosnian and US governments do not take actions like this without credible information on terrorist activities or ties,» a US military statement said.