Turkey: Syrian man arrested over 'Obama murder plot'

Istanbul, 6 April (AKI) - As United States president Barack Obama began an official visit to Turkey on Monday, reports surfaced that a Syrian man was arrested in Istanbul in connection with a plot to kill him. The man - who sought to disguise himself as a journalist for the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera - managed to obtain press accreditation and allegedly planned to stab the US president with a knife, said Saudi daily al-Watan.

The Saudi daily contacted Al-Jazeera's bureau in the Turkish capital Ankara and spoke with the bureau's director Yusuf al-Sharif who claimed the Syrian man never worked with Al-Jazeera.

The suspect was arrested last Friday in Istanbul, where he had been permanently living for a number of years. After his arrest, al-Watan said he confessed to having planned Obama's murder and that in case he failed, there were three other accomplices that would carry out the assassination.

Obama arrived in Ankara late on Sunday for a two-day trip to shore up ties with majority-Muslim Turkey, whose support is crucial to the US to solve the conflicts in Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

He is due to meet Turkish president Abdullah Gul and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Obama was also due to visit the Turkish parliament and address the general assembly.


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