Romania Says It Averted Iraqi-Planned Terrorist Attacks

Romania's intelligence service said Thursday that it averted terrorist attacks planned by Iraq against Western and Israeli targets in Romania (search).

In a statement Thursday, the country's spy service said it established in the months before the war that Iraqi operatives were planning "to organize terrorist attacks on Israeli and Western targets."

"The terrorist attacks were to be carried out with AG-7 grenade launchers provided by the head of the espionage of the Iraqi Embassy (search) in Bucharest (search)," the statement said.

Romanian authorities reacted at the time by declaring 10 Iraqi diplomats and 31 other people as persona non grata, expelling or barring them from entering the country.

The service said it cooperated with other foreign espionage services, and that documents found in Iraq's espionage headquarters after the war "fully confirmed the information obtained by the Romanian intelligence service."

In March, Romania expelled five Iraqi diplomats for what it characterized at the time as "activities incompatible with their status."

The expulsions came after Washington's request for dozens of countries to deport suspected Iraqi agents because of fears they could attack American interests overseas in case of a war. Several other European countries, including Finland, Sweden and Hungary, also expelled Iraqi diplomats.

Iraq's ambassador to Romania, Majid Saad Hamid, was later recalled after he accused a Romanian intelligence officer of asking him to collaborate during a meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

Officials at Romania's Foreign Ministry denied at the time that the ambassador had been asked to collaborate with Romanian intelligence.

Romania, a close ally of the United States during the war on Iraq, allowed the U.S. military to use Romanian airspace and an air base to deploy troops to Iraq.