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Report reveals 1981 kgb plan to kill pope { March 30 2005 }

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1981 attack on Pope planned by Soviets: Report
Agence France-Presse

Rome, March 30, 2005|18:42 IST

New documents found in the files of the former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian agents, an Italian daily said on Wednesday.

The Corriere della Sera said that the documents found by the German government indicated that the KGB ordered Bulgarian colleagues to carry out the killing, leaving the East German service known as the Stasi to coordinate the operation and cover up the traces afterwards.

Bulgaria then handed the execution of the plot to Turkish extremists, including Mehmet Ali Agca, who pulled the trigger.

The daily said the documents had been handed over to Bulgaria and would be made available to the Italian parliamentary commission inquiring into the activities of formerly Communist eastern European regimes in Italy.

The newspaper said the documents consist mostly of letters from Stasi operatives to their Bulgarian counterparts seeking help in covering up traces after the attack and denying Bulgarian involvement.

Ali Agca, who is now in jail in Turkey, claimed after his arrest that the operation was under the control of the Bulgarian embassy in Rome. The Bulgarians have always insisted they were innocent and argued that Agca's story was part of an anti-communist plot by the Italian secret service and the CIA.

The paper said the documents back up the pope's own memories of the assassination attempt in May 1981 in his book "Memory and Identity: Conversations Between Millenniums," in which he said he was convinced that the attack was not planned or directed by Ali Agca.

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