US authorities confirmed that Turkish police have arrested a man who claims to have plotted to kill US President Barack Obama when he visited Turkey.
The Secret Service in Washington said Monday night that Turkish National Police arrested the man last Friday in Istanbul. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the president was never in any immediate danger, as Obama arrived in Turkey on Sunday, two days after the man's arrest.
As standard procedure involving a threat against the president overseas, the Secret Service is following up with Turkish authorities regarding the case and is not releasing any information about the suspect, Donovan said.
On Monday, the Saudi daily Al Watan reportedm that Turkish security services has arrested a man of Syrian descent who was planning to assassinate Obama during his trip to Turkey.
According to the report, the man, who was arrested on Friday, was carrying a press card identifying him as an employee of Al Jazeera. He reportedly confessed to his intention to stab Obama with a knife and said that he was aided by three accomplices.
The report stated that Turkish authorities were still unsure as to whether the press card was a fake or whether it had actually been issued the man by the Qatari news network.
Al-Jazeera's Ankara bureau chief, Yussef al-Sharif, told the paper that news of the suspected assassination plot had come as an utter surprise to the network's staff in Turkey, adding that all of Al-Jazeera's employees in the country claimed that they were not acquainted with the suspect.
Sharif said that the ID card had "most certainly" been forged.
He said that Turkish authorities knew all of the employees of Al-Jazeera's Ankara offices.