Morocco has arrested three Saudis suspected to be al Qaeda members planning "terrorist attacks" on U.S. and British ships in the Straits of Gibraltar, a senior government official said on Monday.
"Morocco's security services have dismantled a network of al Qaeda who planned terrorist attacks on U.S. and British warships crossing the Straits of Gibraltar... It was a successful operation," the official told Reuters.
The official said the three men, holding Saudi passports, were arrested in Morocco last month. He declined to name them, saying only they were aged between 25 and 35. He added the men planned to sail small dinghies carrying explosives into the Straits of Gibraltar.
The official said they were planning an attack similar to the raid on the U.S. warship Cole while it was refueling off Yemen in 2000.
Earlier on Monday, U.S. authorities said they had captured a suspected American al Qaeda operative carrying out reconnaissance for an attack on the United States with a radioactive "dirty bomb." The three Saudi nationals were being held in custody in Casablanca prior to interrogation by the prosecutor, the Moroccan official said.
The Moroccan official said the three Saudi men were married to local women and were "well integrated in the Moroccan society."
He said they were funded and supported by Osama bin Laden. A veteran Western diplomat said the planned "terrorist" operation was aimed at hitting NATO warships, mainly U.S. and British ships from the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. (Albawba.com)
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