Pope John Paul II the subject of two assassination plots in Poland

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Pope John Paul II was the subject of two assassination plots in his native Poland a senior member of the Polish Catholic Church has claimed.

Zdzislaw Krol, chancellor of Warsaw Metropolitan Curia, said the late pontiff faced plots against his life during his 1983 and 1987 pilgrimages to Poland.

Before the start of the 1987 pilgrimage the Church received information from a woman of a plan to kill the pope while his was in the town of Czestochowa, a focal point of Polish catholism, Father Krol explained.

Taking the information seriously the Church passed the information on to the communist authorities and a man was arrested.

The suspect, it turned out, was Bulgarian. Many believe that the man who made an assassination attempt on John Paul II in 1981, Turk Mehmet Ali Agca, was working on the orders of Bulgarian secret service.

Information on the other plot, Father Krol said, came from a source in the Austrian embassy, who alleged that three Germans linked to the left-wing terrorist group, the Red Brigade, had managed to get into Poland, and intended to murder the pope at an open-air mass in Warsaw.

The revelations come just days after a historian claimed that Poland's communist authorities may have foiled a plot to kill John Paul on his 1987 pilgrimage after they had received a letter in which the author said he would "shoot the pope in the head".

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