DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, May 1 (UPI) -- Three Iranians were arrested earlier by Egyptian security for allegedly plotting to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Cairo, an official said Tuesday.
Egyptian officials had informed Saudi Arabia authorities at the time of the arrest three months ago, but Saudi officials preferred not to speak publicly about the alleged plot to kidnap and murder the ambassador, Ahmed Abdel Aziz al-Qattan, a legal adviser to the Saudi Embassy, Sami Gamal Eddine, told al Arabiya.
Egypt's ruling military council foiled the plot and offered to provide tighter security for the Saudi ambassador but he refused the additional protection, Gamal Eddine said.
Saudi Arabia's recent decision to recall its ambassador to Cairo came in response to "serious security concerns" about embassy staff, Gamal Eddine said.
He said Saudi Arabia had worried protests in front of its embassy in Cairo could be exploited by a "third party" to attack the mission and its employees.
Al-Arabiya said a small group of Egyptians had protested the detention of an Egyptian lawyer and rights airport at Jeddah airport in Saudi Arabia on April 17.
Saudi Arabia said the man, Ahmed Mohammed al-Gazawi, was detained after being caught with more than 20,000 Xanax pills hidden in his luggage.
But numerous Egyptians said Gizawi had been arrested for criticizing the Saudi government. He received a sentence in absentia of one year in prison and 20 lashes.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast denied Tehran plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador to Cairo, the semi-official FARS News Agency reported.
"The claim is not true," Mehman-Parast said at a news conference in Tehran Tuesday.