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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 06:38 GMT 07:38 UK
SA police 'foiled terrorist plot'
Special forces Jordanian soldier
Selebi said the operation led to arrests in Jordan
South Africa's police chief has said his officers revealed a plot linked to al-Qaeda to disrupt April's elections.

National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi said a number of people from outside South Africa had been arrested on 9 April, five days before the poll.

He told parliament's security and safety committee that those detained had had "evil intentions" against South Africa - though he gave few details.

Mr Selebi said the police operation had led to arrests in Jordan and Syria.

We arrested some people who had evil intentions towards this country - we did not tell anybody
Jackie Selebi
National police commissioner
Reports from Jordan in April said police had foiled a chemical plot, arresting six people and killing another four.

Officials said the plot involved attacking the intelligence department in Amman, using trucks loaded with 20 metric tons of chemicals and possibly causing the deaths of thousands of people.

Mr Selebi said police kept quiet about the arrests over the election period.

"We arrested some people who had evil intentions towards this country," he said. "We did not tell anybody."

"The result is that you saw in Jordan, in and around those days, a number of people arrested who were called al-Qaeda. A number of people were also arrested in Syria as a result of our operation."

He added that as part of the operation British police had found "boxes and boxes" of South African passports at a London home, but refused to elaborate.

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