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Wednesday, 8 April 2009


US President-elect Senator Barack Obama. Photo/FILE

US President-elect Senator Barack Obama. A suspect is reported to have confessed that he and three accomplices planned to stab Mr Obama with a knife during a summit in Istanbul on Monday. Photo/FILE 

By NATION ReporterPosted Tuesday, April 7 2009 at 21:26

A plot to assassinate US President Barack Obama in Turkey was foiled last Friday, CNN has reported.

The report said US officials had taken a threat by a Syrian man arrested last Friday in Turkey to kill President Obama “very seriously”.

Made history

Mr Obama, whose father was Kenyan, made history when he became the 44th US President and the first African-American to lead the most powerful nation in the world.

White House officials declined to comment, citing a policy of not talking about the president’s security. US Secret Service officials spoke only briefly about the case, said CNN. “We work closely with the host country whenever there is an arrest,” secret service spokesman Ed Donovan was quoted saying.

CNN revealed that the plot was first reported by a Saudi Arabian newspaper which said that Turkish security services arrested a man of Syrian origin on Friday in connection with a plan to kill Mr Obama during his visit to Turkey.

The US president was in France on Friday for a Nato summit and did not arrive in Turkey until Sunday.

The Saudi paper said the suspect, who had an Al-Jazeera TV press card in the name of “MG”, confessed that he and three accomplices planned to stab Mr Obama with a knife during a summit in Istanbul on Monday.

Being verified

The US officials confirmed the report but stressed to CNN that the man’s information was being verified.

Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Ankara, Turkey, Yucef al-Sharif, said his organisation knew nothing about the man, saying he may have got his hands on a forged press card.

On Sunday, journalists covering President Obama’s trip faced more extensive searches than usual by the secret service before boarding a charter flight to Ankara. The same extensive searches were conducted on Monday before a flight from Ankara to Istanbul, said CNN

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