updated 10/28/2005 1:17:54 PM ET 2005-10-28T17:17:54

A suspected close associate of al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has told investigators of a plot to shoot down planes in France with missiles, a French judicial official said Friday.

The man, a Jordanian like al-Zarqawi, was arrested in Jordan and questioned by police there following a request in December from France’s leading anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the official said.

The Jordanian told his questioners of an Algerian he had contacts with in 2000, according to a copy of his testimony provided by police in Jordan to Bruguiere.

Under questioning, the suspect said the Algerian told him he had acquired two missiles from a Chechen, had transported them to Turkey and planned to smuggle them into France to shoot down planes, the official said, without identifying the suspect or the Algerian by name.

The Jordanian also claimed he persuaded the Algerian to renounce his plan, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of French laws limiting the release of information from judicial investigations. She said French officials do not know whether there is any truth to the Jordanian’s claims.

The French newspaper Le Figaro identified the alleged al-Zarqawi associate as Adnan Muhammad Sadik, who uses the alias Abou Atiya, and said he was al-Zarqawi’s representative in the Caucasus.

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