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Sunday, October 26, 2003

Iranian spies scope out British synagogues for Al Qaida attack

Two "asked to leave the country"
From the Daily Telegraph (UK):
Iranian spies have been photographing synagogues and other Jewish buildings in Britain, seemingly in preparation for terrorist attacks.

MI5, the security service, and Special Branch officers have discovered Iranians photographing such buildings in London and the Home Counties for some time, with an upsurge of activity over the past two months.

Up to 20 Iranians, most studying here legally as students at universities, are involved in the surveillance and two men have been asked to leave the country as a result.

Mike Whine, the security spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said that the authorities were taking the threat seriously.

"We have been aware for some time that Iranians are monitoring synagogues and Jewish community buildings," he said. "They have been seen taking photographs and most synagogues are now aware of the threat and keep a look-out.

"We understand from intelligence received that they are photographing them as possible terrorist targets. We don't know for definite but there could be a link with al-Qa'eda."

He said the activities of the Iranians had caused considerable worry to the Jewish community. Among the buildings photographed were synagogues in Finchley, north London, an area that is home to one of Britain's largest Jewish communities.
Sign petition at Simon Wiesenthal Center urging British government to send "unequivocal message" to Tehran.