Anglican Priest Flees Iraq Amid Threats

Baghdad, Iraq - An Anglican priest who may have received a cryptic warning of the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow has fled Iraq after threats against his life, an associate said Wednesday.

Canon Andrew White, a British national who ran Iraq's only Anglican church, left the country Tuesday and returned to Britain, the associate said on condition of anonymity, saying the British Foreign Office had asked that it be the only source of information on the case.

The associate refused to elaborate on the threats. But the British Broadcasting Corp. Web site said pamphlets dropped in Shiite areas of Baghdad branded the vicar as "no more than a spy."

White had been working to secure the release of five British hostages who were seized at the Iraqi Finance Ministry on May 29 by gunmen wearing police uniforms.

On July 4, White told The Associated Press that he had met the man in Amman, Jordan, in April who was identified by religious leaders as an al-Qaida leader. The man told him: "Those who cure you will kill you."

White said in retrospect that may have been a warning of last month's failed plot to blow up car bombs in London and Glasgow, Scotland. All the suspects worked in the medical professions.

White had been visiting Iraq regularly since 1998 and remained here after the U.S. invasion in 2003, holding services inside the Green Zone.