A former deputy chief of Poland's Internal Security Agency (ABW) has claimed the organisation thwarted a terrorist attack which could have killed thousands of people in 2003.
Speaking to national TV broadcaster TVP, General Pawel Pruszynski said that the coordinated attack was meant to target Christmas mass in four large cities in Poland.
Pruszynski did not specify which areas were targeted, but added that Islamist terrorists intended to bomb four cathedrals which would have been packed with devotees.
“Practically everything had been prepared,” Pruszynski said.
“The attacks were to happen in major cities, I cannot say which. I can only reveal that the attacks were to be carried out in cathedrals, so we were worried that several thousand people could die.”
A tragedy was avoided, Pruszynski noted, through the intelligence work of ABW's “Miecz” special forces program, adding that he personally oversaw the operation
The duty of Polish forces lies in observing the movements of people suspected of organising terrorist attacks, Pruszynski explained, adding that such actions are coordinated with special forces in other countries.
The general was speaking to TVP about the events which happened Monday in Sydney, Australia, where a gunmen took dozens hostage in a local cafe. In the siege which lasted some 16 hours, two hostages lost their lives, and the Islamist kidnapper was killed.