Baghdad An alleged al-Qaida militant detained in Iraq said Tuesday he had talked to friends about attacking Danish and Dutch teams at the World Cup in South Africa next month to avenge insults against the Prophet Muhammad.
Iraqi security forces holding Saudi citizen identified as Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani arranged for The Associated Press to interview him at an unidentified government building in Baghdad. He said he initially came to Iraq in 2004 to fight Americans and was recruited by al-Qaida.
An Iraqi security official with knowledge of the investigation said al-Qahtani was arrested after a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in April that killed the two top al-Qaida in Iraq figures — Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. The official asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss details of the case.
Documents found in the house where they were killed, including a note written by al-Qahtani detailing a plan to launch attacks at the World Cup, led to his arrest on May 3. Iraqi authorities made it public on Monday.
“We discussed the possibility of taking revenge for the insults of the prophet by attacking Denmark and Holland,” al-Qahtani told The AP. “The goal was to attack the Danish and the Dutch teams and their fans,” he added.