(Edited from AP, Baghdad) An alleged al-Qaida militant detained in Iraq said Tuesday he had talked to friends about attacking Danish and Dutch teams at the World Cup in South Africa next month to avenge insults against the Prophet Muhammad.

Iraqi security forces holding Saudi citizen identified as Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani arranged for The Associated Press to interview him at an unidentified government building in Baghdad. He said he initially came to Iraq in 2004 to fight Americans and was recruited by al-Qaida.

(Edited from AP, Baghdad) An alleged al-Qaida militant detained in Iraq said Tuesday he had talked to friends about attacking Danish and Dutch teams at the World Cup in South Africa next month to avenge insults against the Prophet Muhammad.

Iraqi security forces holding Saudi citizen identified as Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani arranged for The Associated Press to interview him at an unidentified government building in Baghdad. He said he initially came to Iraq in 2004 to fight Americans and was recruited by al-Qaida.

An Iraqi security official with knowledge of the investigation said al-Qahtani was arrested after a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in April that killed the two top al-Qaida figures in Iraq – Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. The official asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss details of the case.

Documents found in the house where they were killed, including a note written by al-Qahtani detailing a plan to launch attacks at the World Cup, led to his arrest on May 3. Iraqi authorities made it public on Monday.

“We discussed the possibility of taking revenge for the insults of the prophet by attacking Denmark and Holland,” al-Qahtani told The AP. “The goal was to attack the Danish and the Dutch teams and their fans,” he added.

“If we were not able to reach the teams, then we’d target the fans,” he said, adding that they hoped to use guns and car bombs.

It was unclear whether the militants had the ability to carry out what would have been quite a sophisticated operation – a complicated attack far from their home base. The Iraqi security official said no steps had yet been taken to put the plan into motion, such as obtaining bomb-making materials.

Al-Qahtani said the plot still needed approval from the al-Qaida chain of command, specifically the group’s No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.

The alleged militant, who is about 30 years old with a mustache, was wearing an orange prisoner jumpsuit and had no outward signs of injury or abuse. He did not appear nervous or fearful.

Al-Qahtani said the World Cup was considered a high-profile international event and South Africa was thought to be easier to travel to than either of the two European countries they wanted to target.

Vish Naidoo, a spokesman for South African police, said Tuesday that South African officials were still awaiting words from their Iraqi counterparts about the arrest. He said the only information South African officials possessed came from media reports.

FIFA said in a statement Tuesday it would not comment on any specific potential threats.

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