3 Plots Against John Paul II´s Life Foiled Since 1995

Bill Clinton and Press Sources Point to Terrorists

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ROME, OCT. 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- In recent years, John Paul II has been the object of at least three failed plots on his life by fundamentalist terrorist groups, according to political and press sources.

On Wednesday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton confirmed that in January 1995 a plan was thwarted to assassinate the Pope during his trip to the Philippines.

According to the CIA, the mastermind behind the plot was terrorist Ramzy Youssef, who two years earlier organized the first attack on New York´s Twin Towers. Some say Youssef is Kuwaiti, others Iraqi.

The story of this attempt on the Pope´s life has been referred to several times by different sources, but it is the first time that a person of the stature of a U.S. president has mentioned it.

Also on Wednesday, the Italian press agency AP.Biscom revealed that during the Holy Father´s recent visit to Syria, a Muslim fundamentalist group had planned to have a kamikaze woman outfitted with explosives throw herself against the «popemobile» in the old city of Damascus. After the explosion, terrorists nearby were to open fire at will.

According to AP.Biscom, the attack was avoided because the CIA informed the Vatican on the eve of the trip, and the latter sent the information to Syria´s secret service, which adopted very stringent security measures.

Today, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera revealed that a Pakistani citizen was detained in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 4. According to U.S. investigators and the FBI, he belonged to a terrorist network with associates in Italy and other European countries which was planning to attack the Vatican.

Last month, a NATO source told Corriere della Sera that al-Qaida extremists, funded by Osama bin Laden, selected 30 possible targets, among which was one «of high religious value.»

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