Syrian Man Disguised as Aljazeera Reporter Arrested In Obama Murder Plot (Updated)
Angry protesters weren’t the only ones waiting for Obama in Turkey.
A Syrian man was arrested in a plot to kill Barack Obama.
Demonstrators protest at Taxim square in Istanbul on Sunday April 5, 2009 against the visit of US President Barack Obama. The posters read ‘Obama go home’. President Barack Obama arrives in Ankara Monday for a two day visit to Turkey. (AP/Ibrahim Usta)
As United States president Barack Obama began an official visit to Turkey on Monday, reports surfaced that a Syrian man was arrested in Istanbul in connection with a plot to kill him. The man – who sought to disguise himself as a journalist for the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera – managed to obtain press accreditation and allegedly planned to stab the US president with a knife, said Saudi daily al-Watan.
The Saudi daily contacted Al-Jazeera’s bureau in the Turkish capital Ankara and spoke with the bureau’s director Yusuf al-Sharif who claimed the Syrian man never worked with Al-Jazeera.
The suspect was arrested last Friday in Istanbul, where he had been permanently living for a number of years. After his arrest, al-Watan said he confessed to having planned Obama’s murder and that in case he failed, there were three other accomplices that would carry out the assassination.
UPDATE: Maybe he wasn’t a fake?
The Jerusalem Post reported that Turkish authorities were still unsure as to whether the press card was a fake or whether it had actually been issued the man by the Aljazeera news network.
CBS has more on the Aljazeera connection.
The “reporter” had been regularly attending all conferences and events relating to the Middle East:
The man, who was carrying an Al-Jazeera TV ID card in the name of M.G., confessed after his arrest that he was planning on stabbing the U.S. president with a knife during the Alliance of Civilizations summit held in Istanbul, adding that he had three other accomplices to help him execute his plan.
According to the paper, Turkish investigators were trying to verify whether the Qatari-based Arab TV channel has truly issued the ID card produced by the man, or if it’s a forged copy.
The suspect, a permanent resident of Istanbul, has been regularly attending all conferences and events relating to the Middle East held in the city.
Al-Watan contacted Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in Ankara, Yucef al-Sharif, who said that news of the suspect came as a complete surprise to Al-Jazeera staff in Turkey, who all claimed that they knew nothing about the man.
“We learned that he (the suspect) claimed to be working for our bureau … if that has been the case then he most certainly forged our ID card,” al-Sharif told al-Watan in a phone call from Ankara.
Turkey’s Zaman News says two people were arrested in the plot.