Italian Wiretaps: Chemical Attack in US
Here are more details on the arrest in Italy of Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed (aka “Mohamed the Egyptian”), including a report that one of the Italian wiretaps refers to an imminent chemical attack in the United States: Lawyer Says He Gave Phone Taps to US.
ROME - An Italian prosecutor said Wednesday he had provided U.S. authorities with transcripts of phone calls between terror suspects, including one that reportedly refers to a woman ready to carry out a chemical attack in the United States.
The two terror suspects were arrested Tuesday in Milan and include Rabie Osman Ahmed, an Egyptian believed to be behind the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, said Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli.
In one of the intercepted phone conversations, Osman Ahmed refers to a woman ready to carry out a chemical attack in America, the ANSA news agency reported.
When asked about the content of the transcripts, Romanelli pointed to news reports that mention the alleged chemical plot. He did not dispute the reports, but he said he would not comment further on the content of the wiretaps.
The wiretaps refer to “small groups ready to carry out suicide attacks,” he said. In most cases, the likely location of the attacks was Iraq, he said. The prosecutor gave no further details.
Police arrested Osman Ahmed in Milan on Monday along with the man he was lodging with, a Palestinian identified as Yahia Payumi. Authorities say Osman Ahmed is a key suspect in the Madrid attacks. The bombings killed 191 people and have been blamed on Islamic extremists with possible links to al-Qaida. Italian officials suspect Osman Ahmed was planning further attacks, and they tipped off Belgian counterparts who arrested 15 people Wednesday in coordinated raids. At least one of the 15 - mostly Palestinian, Jordanian, Moroccan and Egyptian - had previously been in contact with Osman Ahmed, Romanelli said.
The AGI news agency reported Wednesday that the suspects may have been planning an attack on the Paris subway system. Osman Ahmed was recorded asking one of those arrested in Belgium about the Paris Metro and security there, AGI said, citing police sources. Authorities were not immediately available to confirm the report.
PARIS, June 9 (Reuters) - Information gathered on a group of suspected Islamic militants arrested in Italy and Belgium does not show they were planning an attack in Paris, the French Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.
“One cannot draw from this information any indication about the preparation of a possible attack in Paris,” a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.