Saudis warned of London attacks

Saudis warned of London attacks

LONDON – The British government declined to comment yesterday on reports that Saudi officials warned well ahead of last month’s deadly London bombings that terrorists were planning to attack the British capital.

Two newspapers cited sources in Riyadh and London as indicating that Saudi officials alerted Britain several weeks before the July 7 bombings, which left 56 people dead. “We don’t comment on intelligence issues,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Office, although Prime Minister Tony Blair has previously rejected suggestions of an intelligence failure.The July 7 bombings were the deadliest attack ever in the British capital, and were followed two weeks later by an attempted copycat attack in which the explosives, stuffed into rucksacks, failed to go off.The Observer newspaper quoted a security official in the Saudi capital Riyadh as saying that information was passed to MI5 and MI6, Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies respectively.The Sunday Telegraph quoted the Saudi ambassador to Britain as saying that details of a possible conspiracy to attack London – apparently extracted from terrorism suspects in Saudi Arabia – had been given to British intelligence.”There were reports passed on to your authorities several months ago in general terms of a heightened expectancy of attacks on London,” said the ambassador, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former chief of Saudi intelligence.Another source said that money transfers were thought to have been made from Saudi Arabia to Britain in the first six months of the year through businesses in the two countries.”It was clear to us that there was a terror group planning an attack in the United Kingdom.We passed on all this information to both MI5 and MI6,” said the source.In Riyadh meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said his country had passed on information to Britain that may be related to last month’s terror attacks.But he gave no further details on the content of the information or whether it had been relayed to British authorities prior to the attacks.”There is continuous cooperation and contacts between the two countries and there is a committee working here to pass information back and forth,” Faisal said at a news conference.”I am sure that there is some information (that) may be linked to these events in London,” he said.British security sources played down the newspaper reports.The Observer quoted one source as “categorically” denying that any specific information had been received that could have averted the July 7 attacks.The source said they “did not recognise” the details of the Saudi claims, which came to light one month to the day after the attacks.- Nampa-AFP”We don’t comment on intelligence issues,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Office, although Prime Minister Tony Blair has previously rejected suggestions of an intelligence failure.The July 7 bombings were the deadliest attack ever in the British capital, and were followed two weeks later by an attempted copycat attack in which the explosives, stuffed into rucksacks, failed to go off.The Observer newspaper quoted a security official in the Saudi capital Riyadh as saying that information was passed to MI5 and MI6, Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies respectively.The Sunday Telegraph quoted the Saudi ambassador to Britain as saying that details of a possible conspiracy to attack London – apparently extracted from terrorism suspects in Saudi Arabia – had been given to British intelligence.”There were reports passed on to your authorities several months ago in general terms of a heightened expectancy of attacks on London,” said the ambassador, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former chief of Saudi intelligence.Another source said that money transfers were thought to have been made from Saudi Arabia to Britain in the first six months of the year through businesses in the two countries.”It was clear to us that there was a terror group planning an attack in the United Kingdom.We passed on all this information to both MI5 and MI6,” said the source.In Riyadh meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said his country had passed on information to Britain that may be related to last month’s terror attacks.But he gave no further details on the content of the information or whether it had been relayed to British authorities prior to the attacks.”There is continuous cooperation and contacts between the two countries and there is a committee working here to pass information back and forth,” Faisal said at a news conference.”I am sure that there is some information (that) may be linked to these events in London,” he said.British security sources played down the newspaper reports.The Observer quoted one source as “categorically” denying that any specific information had been received that could have averted the July 7 attacks.The source said they “did not recognise” the details of the Saudi claims, which came to light one month to the day after the attacks.- Nampa-AFP

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