Lawyers Deny Paris Metro Was Terror Target
Jun. 10, 2004
ROME (AP) _ Italian prosecutors denied Thursday that a terror suspect arrested this week in Milan and believed to be a key figure behind the Madrid train bombings was planning an attack on the Paris subway system.
Italian news reports said that Rabei Osman Ahmed, the key suspect, was recorded asking for information about the Paris Metro and security there.
The Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica newspapers on Thursday cited what they said were transcripts of taped phone conversations during which Osman Ahmed appeared to organize logistics for another suspect who was on his way to the French capital.
``We categorically deny the reports,'' said a joint press release issued by the Milan prosecutors leading the probe, Maurizio Romanelli and Armando Spataro, and referring to the alleged Paris plot.
The prosecutors also denied all other reports ``concerning the identification of any other specific target.''
Osman Ahmed was arrested Monday night in Milan along with the man he was rooming with, a Palestinian identified as Yahia Payumi. According to Italian authorities, he was planning another attack.
Another potential target that has been mentioned by Corriere della Sera was a NATO base in Belgium. The ANSA news agency said that wiretapped conversations included a reference by Osman Ahmed to a woman ready to carry out a chemical attack in America.
The arrests in Milan were part of a coordinated action in Europe that also brought 15 people in Belgium behind bars. The suspects picked up in Belgium were believed to take orders from Osman Ahmed.