MX23RW : Tuesday, July 17 13:43:25

Osama bin Laden planned to target England in World Cup terror plot?

Claims in a new book suggest that Osama Bin Laden planned to carry out a terrorist attack on the England team at the 1998 World Cup.

Osama Bin Laden drew up plans to take out the England national team in a terror attack at the 1998 World Cup, according to claims made in a new book.

Middle East-based journalist Adam Robinson and former US terror chief Yossef Bodansky believe that the al-Qaeda warlord plotted to kill members of the Three Lions squad during a group match against Tunisia.

In their book Terror On The Pitch, the authors claim that Bin Laden devised the attack with Algerian Islamist terrorist organisation the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).

The plan is said to have involved taking down goalkeeper David Seaman via a suicide bomber, shooting Alan Shearer dead on the pitch and tossing a grenade at the bench where then-manager Glen Hoddle would have been sitting, according to The Mirror.

David Beckham and Michael Owen are also said to have been earmarked for execution.

Bin Laden, who was killed by US Special Forces in May 2011, allegedly spent time in London on a fact-finding mission while plotting the attack and developed "an affinity" for Arsenal during his time there.

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