The reports drew denials from Mexico’s secretary of the navy. Nevertheless, at least two Mexican media organizations published allegedly leaked government documents giving details of how the navy thwarted the attack.
The American media outlet CNN is quoting an unnamed State Department source saying Mexican police arrested a Somali citizen suspected of planning a terrorist attack in June 2010.
He was investigated for hiding explosives but was released because evidence against him was inconclusive.
The Mexican news media reports gave much more detail.
They said an internal Mexican navy document dated June 10, 2010, gave a list of incriminating items found in a hotel in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood.
The items included a cardboard cylindrical container that held 22.7 kilograms of high explosives. It was sealed in paraffin wax along with two kinds of copper wrapped in plastic.
Navy agents also found four multi-channel radios, a frequency analyzer, a liter of nitric acid, six liters of pure glycerin, a plastic bag containing detonating cords and a kilogram of aluminum. Nearby was a copy of the Koran and a Muslim prayer rug.
The report quoted by the news media said police seized identification papers from a Somali man called Ahmed who was using the name Arturo Hernandez Hernandez.
Papers he carried bore the logo of the Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab, the news reports said. He entered Mexico from Guatemala.
The tip that alerted police to Ahmed’s presence originated with the Israeli embassy in Mexico City, according to the document quoted by the media.
“U.S. authorities informed us that intelligence officers assigned to the Embassy of Israel in Mexico are the ones who have followed the trail of the alleged terrorist of Somali nationality, named Ahmed, who allegedly belongs to an international armed Islamic extremist organization and of whom we attached a photograph and fake identification,” the document says. “There is also information about the explosives that would be used to attack the Embassy of the United States of America in Mexico, among other targets, such as consulates,” the document says.
Ahmed’s presence at the Puebla Hotel in Mexico City beginning on June 7, 2010, was verified by surveillance cameras, the document says.
The document was marked “confidential” and carried the stamp of the Mexican government and the navy, the media reports said.
However, the Mexican secretary of the navy said the documents were “fake.”
He released a statement saying the navy “categorically rejects the authorship of the alleged report in possession of some media outlets.”
The statement also said, “The print seals and watermarks that appear on the document, as well as its format, do not correspond to the ones utilized by this federal government agency.”
U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials in Washington said they were unaware of any plot to blow up the American embassy in Mexico City.
If the media reports are true, they appear to verify recent statements at congressional hearings by Homeland Security Department officials who said Islamic terrorists might be using Mexico as a back door for attacks against the United States.
The media report comes only days after the Obama administration announced the arrest of an American Muslim accused of trying to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
The Justice Department says he was captured after trying to hire members of a Mexican drug cartel to kill the ambassador with a bomb at a Washington restaurant.
President Barack Obama blamed the Iranian government for sponsoring the planned bombing. He said the plot continued a pattern of “dangerous and reckless behavior” by the Iranians. The Iranian government denies any involvement.