Rushdie 'stalked by 24 hit-men'

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The Independent Online
Two dozen Iranian hit-men have been expelled from Britain during the past eight years for trying to kill Salman Rushdie, the author given a death sentence by the late Ayatollah Khomeini for alleged blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses.

Speaking to the Independent on Sunday, Mr Rushdie revealed the Iranians' intent to carry out the fatwa and to claim the bounty, recently raised to $2.5m (pounds 1.5m)

"A couple of dozen Iranians have been expelled from this country for reasons to do with the fatwa," he said. Several times, he had been told by the security services, teams of assassins had been despatched to London. "They did not get close. I was not told any more details," he said.

All of them, said Mr Rushdie, had been Iranian government agents, contradicting claims that the Tehran authorities were not intent on pursuing the fatwa.

Focus, page 19

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