Pope Francis: Plot to bomb Catholic leader by FBI ‘most wanted’ terrorist during Philippines trip foiled
A plot hatched by one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists to kill Pope Francis during his recent trip to the Philippines was foiled, it can now be revealed.
The Catholic Church leader visited the country from January 15 to January 19, and according to ‘unverified’ reports received by the presidential palace in Manila, there were plans to kill the Pontiff during his visit.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino III’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte told a state-run radio station: “We were aware.
“We were able to speak to those in the security establishments on that and I was told that they were aware of that particular piece of unverified information that was passed on.”
A military source of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the intelligence indicated that a bomb plot was to be carried out by Zulkifli bin Hir, who goes by the alias Marwan, during Pope Francis’ five-day visit to the islands in January.
Former Philippines Air Force officer Colonel Restituto Padilla, who has now been appointed lead spokesman of the Armed Force of the Philippines, said: “We got wind of this piece of info but this was unverified and unconfirmed.
“Planning adjustments were made in consideration of this and to ensure protection of the Pope.”
Days later, on January 25, Zulkifli bin Hir, who has been hunted by the FBI since carrying out the murder of a Christian member of Malaysian parliament in 2000, was killed by Philippine special forces in a raid.
The 49-year-old’s death was verified after DNA tests were carried out including that of his brother, who is currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
According to reports, the terrorist had hoped to carry out a bombing on January 18 during the Pope’s mass in Rizal Park, which attracted a crowd of six million Christians.
Hir was the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a south east Asian militant Islamist terrorist organization.
Upon his death, his daughter told local media: “To us, our father died a long time ago, there is no need to claim the body.”