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Report: KGB Wanted Pope Elminated

November 3, 1999

ROME (AP) _ Cold War-era files obtained by an Italian parliamentary commission outline alleged KGB plots against Pope John Paul II, including one suggesting his ``physical elimination,″ Italian newspapers reported Wednesday.

The files are based on information from the old Czech secret service.

Members of the parliamentary commission, created to investigate acts of terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s, say they will examine the dossiers for any new information on Soviet plots against John Paul.

Sketchy details reported by Italian newspapers covered some previously revealed allegations, such as the presence of East bloc moles in the inner reaches of the Vatican.

Never-proved allegations linked Soviet secret services to a 1981 assassination attempt against the pope, a pivotal figure in the fall of communism in Poland and elsewhere.

The recently obtained files address two plots, code-named ``Pagoda″ and ``Infection.″

An outline describes ``Activity of the KGB to discredit the Catholic church and the Holy Father with actions of disinformation and provocation, not excluding his physical elimination,″ according to newspaper reports.

The files also allege KGB agents plotted to put a bug in a picture frame to spy on the late Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, then Vatican secretary of state.

Markus Wolf, the former East German spy chief, has admitted his agents planted a mole in the Vatican, identifying him as a Benedictine monk.

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