LONDON: Stunning details of a failed terrorist plot to kill England players on the pitch during their 1998 World Cup clash with Tunisia have been revealed. The “brutal, bloody and audacious” attack on Glenn Hoddle’s side in France was dreamt up by Osama bin Laden, the man who masterminded the 2001 attacks on New York’s Twin Towers which left more than 3,000 people dead.
Bin Laden planned to throw a grenade at manager Glenn Hoddle, shoot Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Michael Owen dead on the pitch and kill David Seaman with a suicide bomber. The astonishing revelation was made by author Adam Robinson, a journalist based in the Middle East and Yossef Bodansky.
American-Israeli Bodansky served for 16 years as director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Osama bin Laden plotted to kill the England team in a “brutal, bloody and audacious” terror attack during a Three Lions games with Tunisia.
In his book ‘Terror On The Pitch’, Robinson wrote that al-Qaeda planned to use an affiliated Algerian Islamist terrorist organisation, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), to stage attacks against England and the USA, referencing a document from co-conspirator Ahmed Zaoui in late 1997.
It read: “The Sheikh (bin Laden), may God bless him, asks that we observe the movements of David Seaman (the goalkeeper), Alan Shearer (the most famous player) and Hoddle (the manager).
“Also, thanks be to God, his attention has been drawn to two younger players who are becoming well known, David Beckham and Michael Owen…we suggest that the point man for the mission should make his way to Seaman and blow himself up.”This will be the signal for the other Brothers to start the rest of the operation.”
Robinson claims bin-Laden “funded and helped organise the plan, agreed to offer additional funds and arms and it also involved the GIA sending key personnel for expert training in an al-Qaeda camp.”
The author calls the plot ‘brutal, bloody and audacious.’ Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces in May 2011 in his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.