WASHINGTON DC: US authorities thwarted an alleged plot to bomb the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington and assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, court documents and a US official said on Tuesday.
The alleged plotters were identified as Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, and Gholam Shakuri — both originally from Iran — in the criminal complaint unsealed in a federal court in New York City. Arbabsiar, a naturalised US citizen, was arrested in late September. Shakuri is still at large.
The plot was disrupted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration. US officials said the Iranian in custody had confessed to the plot and provided information on the involvement of various factions of the Iranian government who were behind the plot.
Court documents identified Shakuri as a member of the Quds Force, a branch of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Shakuri approved the plan to try to kill the Saudi ambassador during telephone conversations with Arbabsiar, the complaint said.
In July and August, Arbabsiar paid $100,000 to a DEA informant for the murder of Saudi Ambassador Adel al Jubeir, court documents said.
Arbabsiar was arrested late last month at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. After his arrest, court papers said, Arbabsiar confessed to the authorities.
The men are charged with one count of conspiracy to murder, two counts of foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire and one count each of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2011.