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Plot to assassinate Bush - reports

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MOSCOW, Russia -- Osama bin Laden has threatened to assassinate U.S. President George W. Bush at a G8 meeting in Italy, the head of Russia's Federal Bodyguard Service has said, according to reports.

The Associated Press said Yevgeny Murov was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying: "Bin Laden is threatening the American president, but we know what international terrorism is today and therefore all the bodyguard units concerned are preparing for this.

"We view the threats as totally serious, but hope that with joint efforts we can solve all the problems."

The Group of Eight summit is meeting between July 20-22 in Genoa, Italy. Leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States are expected to attend the summit.

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Murov -- Russian President Vladimir Putin's chief bodyguard -- did not elaborate on the threats. He said agents from Russia's Federal Bodyguard Service have travelled to Genoa to coordinate with their counterparts from the other nations taking part in the summit to investigate the threats.

Reports in the U.S., German and Italian media have said bin Laden may be plotting against Bush and other world leaders coming to Genoa, The Associated Press reported.

Bin Laden has been indicted by the United States for allegedly masterminding the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam which killed more than 200 people.

He has taken refuge in Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban movement has refused to hand him over to Western powers.

Some Genoa organisers fear a possible assassination attempt and have said they might move the summit venue to a cruise liner offshore or a military base, Reuters reported.

Italy's new interior minister promised tight security for the summit, with soldiers and a large police force.

• US Department of State - Home Page
• Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

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