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Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 10:39 GMT
Al-Qaeda 'planned more attacks'
Plane flying into the Twin Towers
Al-Qaeda was apparently planning more attacks
The Indian authorities say a man arrested on suspicion of being linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network has confessed to planning suicide attacks in Britain, Australia and India.


We have been able to verify the information and confirm it. So there is truth to what he has said

Indian Home Minister LK Advani
"We arrested this person about a month ago in Bombay and he made some very shocking confessions," Indian Home Minister LK Advani said.

He said the man had trained as a pilot in both Britain and Australia and that his confession revealed a global conspiracy by al-Qaeda to carry out further acts similar to the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

L K Advani
L K Advani: There was a global conspiracy
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, the man confessed to being part of an al-Qaeda cell which had checked in at a London airport on 11 September for two flights bound for Manchester.

They had planned to hijack the planes and crash them into the Houses of Parliament and London's Tower Bridge, but when news of the attacks in America came through they panicked and fled, the report says.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has confirmed that a man arrested in India a month ago with suspected Bin Laden links had indeed learnt to fly in Australia.

It is not yet clear if he is the same man.

Pilot training

The authorities in India have not named the suspect, but according to the Indian press he is Mohammed Afroz, a resident of Bombay, who is said to have spent considerable sums of money training as pilot abroad.


He has done pilot training apparently in Australia and in Britain so presumably the type of suicide attack he was contemplating was using aircraft

Alexander Downer
The man confessed that al-Qaeda were planning to use India as a base from which to launch attacks on Britain, Australia and the Indian parliament.

"We have been able to verify the information and confirm it. So there is truth to what he has said," Mr Advani said.

BBC correspondent Alastair Lawson in Delhi said legal sources in India point out that the arrested man has not yet been found guilty in court and could still retract his confession.

'Serious' threat

Australia's Attorney-General Daryl Williams said that a man arrested in Bombay last month - who confessed to planning terror attacks in Australia, Britain and India - had trained as a pilot in Australia.

Alexander Downer
Alexander Downer: Not a hoax
"The claim is that there was a group training to conduct terrorist action in the United Kingdom, India and Australia. There is a man detained by authorities and he has claimed that the plan was to attack in Australia," Mr Williams said.

"We have been able to confirm that he did train in Australia as a pilot in 1997 and 1998 but we've also ascertained that he left Australia in December 1998 and has not returned."

Australian agencies are working with India to further investigate the claims.

Earlier Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he did not think the man's claims were a hoax.

"I think these are claims that need to be taken seriously - we can be grateful for the fact that he has been arrested by Indian authorities," he said.

"He has done pilot training apparently in Australia and in Britain so presumably the type of suicide attack he was contemplating was using aircraft," Mr Downer said.

See also:

05 Oct 01 | Americas
The investigation and the evidence
28 Sep 01 | England
Terror suspect 'taught hijackers'
14 Sep 01 | Americas
Q&A: Learning to fly a plane
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