Subject: AP: Al-Qaida once targeted United Nation's East Timor mission: officials

Al-Qaida once targeted United Nation's East Timor mission: officials

The Associated Press

Published: December 28, 2006

DILI, East Timor: Al-Qaida targeted U.N. officials in East Timor for attack between 2000 and 2002 because of the world body's role in the nation's separation from mostly Muslim Indonesia, the top U.N. official in the country said Thursday.

Atul Khare gave no details of the alleged plots in the Christian nation.

"It is indeed true that in 2000, 2001 and also 2002 there were some reports which were attributed to Osama bin Laden or to his group which indicated that he will take action against UNTAET and later on UNMISET for having contributed to the separation of East Timor from Indonesia," said Khare.

UNTAET was the acronym for the United Nation's transitional mission in East Timor. The mission ended in 2002 and was replaced by UNMISET, which was tasked with supporting the country's first independent government.

Warnings by foreign governments of a possible terror threat led to the tiny nation tightening security for a short time in 2002.

In 2002, an audiotape with a voice purported to belong to Osama bin Laden condemned Australia for its "despicable effort to separate East Timor" from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

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