updated 9-5-02




Karzai escapes assassination attempt

Kandahar governor wounded; gunman wore army uniform

September 5, 2002

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) --

Underlining the fragile nature of post-Taliban Afghanistan, the country's president Hamid Karzai was the target of an assassination attempt Thursday by a gunman wearing the uniform of the new Afghan army.

Karzai escaped unhurt, but the governor of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar was shot and wounded.

A U.S. Special Operations soldier was wounded in the exchange of gunfire, military officials said.

The gunman fired shots at Kandahar Gov. Gul Agha Sherzai and Karzai, but the man was immediately shot dead by a bodyguard, according to accounts. The bodyguard also was killed, a top Afghan official said.

The Pentagon said initial reports indicated the gunman was killed by U.S. troops.

Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah told reporters that the Afghan government believes Karzai was the intended target.

Abdullah said Karzai was leaving the governor's house when a uniformed, armed person appeared in front of their car and opened fire. Abdullah confirmed that the governor had been slightly wounded.

A witness said he heard dozens of shots.

The wife of one of Karzai's brothers said the president and the governor had gotten into their car when the gunman fired five shots into the vehicle. But another witness said that Sherzai and Karzai were not yet in the car when the shooting took place.

Sherzai was wounded in the neck. He was treated at the Kandahar Air Base and released.

U.S. Central Command said a U.S. soldier providing security for Karzai was injured as a result of what it called "an apparent attack on a motorcade" transporting the officials. The soldier received minor injuries and is in stable condition. The soldier was taken to a nearby military medical facility for treatment, Central Command said.

Karzai, who was in town to attend the wedding of his younger brother, was whisked to safety after the shooting. He is being guarded by U.S. Special Forces. (Karzai profile)

A State Department official confirmed there are plans for Karzai's security detail to change hands this month from U.S. Special Forces to Diplomatic Security forces.

The official said "it would be speculative and premature" to consider whether those plans would be changed in light of the shooting.

Sherzai is a member of the ethnic Pashtun tribe and is a supporter of the Karzai government. He has a security detail and there was an increased amount of  security in Kandahar because Karzai was there.

White House spokesperson Claire Buchan says President Bush was notified about the shooting upon his arrival in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was speaking at  a rally.

Buchan said "the White House is looking into what happened. That obviously the President is relieved that President Karzai is safe. The two are expected to meet next week in New York at the United Nations meetings."

The shooting in Kandahar happened hours after two explosions rocked the center of the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least 15 people.

-- CNN's Ryan Chilcote contributed to this report.

Explosions in Kabul kill at least 15

September 5, 2002

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least 15 people were killed and 20 injured by two explosions in the center of Afghanistan's capital city, Afghan authorities and witnesses said.

Security officials said most of the casualties were caused by a massive secondary blast, which took place outside the Ministry of Information and Culture at around mid-afternoon local time.

They said a much smaller initial blast may have been intended to lure curious onlookers and security forces to the area before the larger second blast, which was thought to have been a car bomb.

Eyewitnesses said ambulances were ferrying casualties from the blast scene in the city's busy business district.

At least two cars were destroyed in the explosions and dozens of windows in the nearby ministry were blown out. It was not clear whether the ministry was the target of the blast.

Security officials combed the area looking for other explosive devices.

Several of the casualties were taken to an Italian hospital in the city, but that hospital was reported to have been overwhelmed and was sending the injured to other facilities.

The blast was the most serious incident to hit Kabul since President Hamid Karzai's government took office earlier this year.

It followed a series of warnings from local and international security forces that some kind of action might be imminent in the days before the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, although officials have mentioned several suspects -- including remnants of the country's former Taliban rulers and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist group.

Others suggested that renegade warlord and former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar may have been involved.

Earlier this week Hekmatyar issued a call for jihad, or holy war, to drive American and other foreign troops from Afghanistan.

-- CNN Correspondents Christiane Amanpour and Matthew Chance contributed to this report

Anti-Terrorist Teams Sweep U.S.


.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Dec. 30, 99) - Federal agents swept across the nation Thursday to build a broader case against an Algerian caught smuggling explosives into the United States, charging another Algerian in New York with being his accomplice.

With the New Year's holiday fast approaching, law enforcement officials questioned and detained dozens of people in major cities from New York to San Francisco as they sought new information about Ahmed Ressam, arrested in Washington state. Some individuals were arrested on immigration charges.

In the most extensive U.S. link yet to Ressam, authorities arrested Abdel Ghani in New York and said he planned to travel with Ressam to Chicago and other places to raise money for an unidentified terrorist organization.

Ghani, 31, was charged with concealing his support for Ressam's efforts to violate federal explosives laws and with conspiring with others to traffic in and use fraudulent credit and bank cards.

FBI agent Bradley S. Morrison said in an affidavit in the criminal complaint that Ghani had traveled to Seattle under an assumed name to meet Ressam, but returned to New York after Ressam's Dec. 14 arrest.

The indictment said authorities learned from a confidential source that Ressam had been tasked by the unnamed group ''to take the explosive-laden vehicle to a parking lot and walk away from it'' and that someone else was to retrieve the vehicle.

Ghani told an associate he was angry that Ressam brought explosives to the United States, and also mentioned ''that the situation was boiling in Algeria and that the United States and the CIA are running everything over there.'' Algeria has been locked in a bloody civil war.

Despite the details of the arrest, Lewis Schiliro, head of the FBI in New York, acted to reassure New Yorkers as the new year approached.

''There are no specific and credible threats to any part of New York City or elsewhere and no explosives or explosive devices were found in connection with the investigation of Abdel Ghani,'' he said.

Ressam was arrested in Port Angeles, Wash., on explosives smuggling charges. Even after the interviews, officials stressed they hadn't turned up information suggesting a terrorist attack was imminent on any U.S. city.

''We did interview people in our area with regard to information they may have about persons involved in terrorist activities,'' FBI spokeswoman Marjorie Poche said in Dallas. ''We don't have any specific information on anything directed here.''

The nationwide questioning occurred as prosecutors in Vermont for the first time drew a connection between Ressam and a Canadian woman detained after trying to cross a remote border in Vermont.

The prosecutors said the two were linked to an Algerian militant organization. The argument persuaded a federal magistrate to continue to hold the woman, Lucia Garofalo, without bail.

Law enforcement officials said some of those being questioned in the United States were of Algerian descent. Most of the interviews were uneventful, although agents in Boston ended up in a chase after one Algerian man fled.

Federal agents arrested a total of five men in Boston, most of them Algerian, after they were questioned. One was charged with illegal entry, another with possession a false green card while three others were detained on civil charges related to their immigration status.

In New York City, authorities detained an Algerian man on immigration charges. He was identified as Najmeddine Houaichi.

Officials in several cities said their questioning was aimed at turning up new leads.

''It is just people we believe may have information that may help us in our investigations,'' said Ramiro Escudero, an FBI spokesman in Los Angeles. ''It does not mean they are involved in any terrorist activities.''

Earlier Thursday, FBI Director Louis Freeh met with top Canadian and intelligence officials to ensure continued coordination on law enforcement and intelligence matters.

''While no specific development prompted today's meeting, these continuing high level discussions reflect the importance both countries place on seamless law enforcement and intelligence efforts relating to Y2K and terrorism issues,'' the FBI said in a statement.

Islamic leaders, meanwhile, urged the public not to overreact to the arrests.

''The main concern from our standpoint is the mass hysteria resulting from the arrests,'' Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said in Los Angeles at a forum to discuss the situation. ''At the same time, we're not shirking our responsibility and we're taking a strong stand against terrorism. We're not supporting any group that might engage in terrorist actions to achieve its goals.''

In court documents, prosecutors said Ms. Garofalo and Ressam were both linked to the Armed Islamic Group, which is known by its French initials, GIA.

The GIA is an extremist faction held responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Algeria's nearly eight-year civil war. It has also been blamed for bombings in France in 1995 and 1996 and an airplane hijacking in 1994.

Ressam faces charges of trying to smuggle explosives and timing devices into Washington from Canada on Dec. 14.

Authorities originally believed Ressam was carrying common nitroglycerine when he was arrested. The liquid turned out to be RDX, or cyclotrimethylene trinitramine, which is used by military forces around the world for demolition.

AP-NY-12-30-99 2130EST


Feds Link Vermont, Washington Border Arrests

Canadian Woman, Algerian Allegedly Linked To 'Violent Terrorist Organization'


.c The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Dec. 30, 99) - A Canadian woman and an Algerian man arrested this month at border posts in Vermont and Washington state are members of the same cell of an Algerian terrorist organization, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

This was the first time the two arrests were publicly linked. FBI agents questioned people in several states Thursday about possible links to the Algerian man, Ahmed Ressam, and several were arrested or detained on immigration charges.

The two arrests in Vermont and Washington state, five days apart, have led to increased fears of terrorism during millennium celebration events this weekend. Fears of possible sabotage prompted tighter security at airports, border crossings, utilities and tunnels in many states.

In Burlington, Vt., federal prosecutors described the link in their request that a magistrate continue to deny bail for Lucia Garofalo until her trial on immigration charges. Magistrate Jerome Neidermeier granted the request.

''There are enough factors in this to indicate something beyond a plan to enter someone into the United States,'' Neidermeier said. Ms. Garofalo was arrested Dec. 19 when she tried to cross the border with an Algerian man who was accused of using a false passport.

Arguing before the magistrate, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin accused Ms. Garofalo of ''working to assist terrorist organizations.''

In court documents, prosecutors said Ms. Garofalo and Ressam were in the same cell of the Armed Islamic Group, which is known by its French initials, GIA. The GIA is a fundamentalist faction held responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Algeria's nearly eight-year civil war. It has also been blamed for bombings in France in 1995 and 1996 and an airplane hijacking in 1994.

Ressam is charged with trying to smuggle military-grade explosives and timing devices into Washington from Canada on Dec. 14. He has pleaded innocent.

Ms. Garofalo was arrested five days later at a Vermont border crossing with another Algerian man, Bouabide Chamchi. At present, they face only immigration-related charges. Authorities said she had crossed in and out of the United States at least twice earlier in December.

In the days after her arrest, authorities had linked Ms. Garofalo to another, lesser-known group allegedly involved in terrorism, but not to the GIA or to Ressam.

The prosecutor said the information he used in his court filing came from a foreign government, which he did not identify. Authorities in France have closely tracked the GIA for years, and French anti-terrorism officials traveled to Canada in October in an attempt to meet with Ressam but failed to find him.

The document says Ms. Garofalo's husband is Yamin Rachek, an Algerian who was expelled from Canada after presenting a false passport.

Rachek, who now lives in Italy, was arrested in London in 1996 for allegedly using an altered Greek passport, and was later released. He also faces an outstanding arrest warrant under another name in Germany for theft, authorities said.

Ms. Garofalo has sought unsuccessfully to persuade Canada to allow Rachek back into the country. In 1997, she allegedly arranged with a man named Said Atmani to buy her an airline ticket to travel to Germany and to hire a lawyer for her husband, Kirby said.

''The foreign government reports that Atmani is a documents forger for the GIA,'' Kirby wrote. ''The foreign government also reports that at one time Atmani and Ahmed Ressam, the man recently arrested in the Seattle area, were roommates.''

Kirby said the foreign government also reported that in 1997 it monitored a conversation between GIA members who spoke of a man living at the time in Germany whose Italian wife lived in Canada. Ms. Garofalo is a Canadian citizen of Italian descent.

''The foreign government reports that these two members of the GIA are in the same cell of that organization as Ahmed Ressam,'' Kirby said in his court filing.

Ms. Garofalo's lawyer, Maryanne Kampmann, unsuccessfully argued that her client had been charged with a minor crime and that people charged with such crimes are usually allowed to return to Canada.

Ms. Kampmann did not directly address the alleged GIA connection but said, ''It's pretty clear all of Ms. Garofalo's efforts have been to get her husband into Canada, and all those efforts have been legal.''

Chamchi, the Algerian arrested with Ms. Garofalo, already has been ordered held without bail until his trial, also on immigration charges.

The Customs Service and Border Patrol have been on heightened alert since the arrests, causing delays at many border crossings.

''If we asked two questions before, we're asking four questions now,'' said Kevin Konopa, deputy assistant district director for inspections at Buffalo, N.Y.

AP-NY-12-30-99 1702EST


Algerian Smuggler's Explosive Called Powerful


.c The Associated Press

SEATTLE (Dec. 30, 99) - One of the world's most powerful explosives was among the items an Algerian national allegedly tried to smuggle into the United States from Canada, officials say.

Authorities originally believed Ahmed Ressam was carrying the common nitroglycerine when he was arrested Dec. 14 near the Port Angeles, Wash. border crossing. Federal officials say he was carrying 200 pounds of a fertilizer called urea, four rudimentary timing devices and two jars of liquid.

According to court documents released Tuesday, the liquid turned out to be RDX, or cyclotrimethylene trinitramine, used by military forces around the world for demolition. No blasting caps or other possible detonators were found, the documents said.

Ressam, 32, is charged with five counts related to the bomb-making materials found in the car, and could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

U.S. and Canadian authorities are searching for Abdelmajed Dahoumane, a man suspected of being Ressam's accomplice. The pair allegedly shared a motel room in Vancouver, British Columbia, for several weeks.

A meeting was scheduled in Washington today between FBI Director Louis Freeh and Canadian security officials, including the head of the country's spy agency, Ward Elcock, and Paul Kennedy, who is charged with Canada's border security.

An aide to Kennedy said the meeting is part of an ongoing Canada-U.S. plan to patrol the border and not related to any specific threat.

RDX can be combined with another chemical, PETN, to form the plastic explosive Semtex. It also could be combined with fertilizers, like urea or ammonium nitrate, to create an even bigger explosion, said Van Romero, vice-president of research at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

''If you were going to bring down a building, you might use RDX,'' Romero said. ''However, there are cheaper and more conventional ways of doing it.''

RDX and Semtex have been blamed for a number of bombings around the world, including the 1988 destruction of Pan Am Flight 108 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The blast killed 270 people.

AP-NY-12-30-99 0536EST


Seattle Cancels Y2K Countdown

Mayor: 'We Do Not Want to Take Chances With Public Safety'

.c The Associated Press

SEATTLE (Dec. 28, 99) - The mayor has scrubbed the city's planned New Year's Eve celebration below its trademark Space Needle, where an estimated 50,000 people had been expected to gather.

''We do not want to take chances with public safety,'' Mayor Paul Schell said Monday. While federal officials have not advised of any specific threat to the city, ''it is safer to be prudent,'' he said.

The 20-acre Seattle Center, which spans below the sky-dotting Needle just off the city's downtown, is a traditional gathering point for New Year's Eve revelers.

Afternoon concerts and a circus performance will go ahead as planned on Friday, and fireworks will still pour from the Space Needle at midnight. But the Center will be cleared and the gates locked at 6 p.m., Schell told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for its Tuesday editions.

Only a private function atop the Needle will be allowed to go ahead, he said.

The city's nerves have been strained in recent weeks by tumultuous, sometimes violent World Trade Organization protests, and news that a man arrested at the U.S.-Canadian border with alleged bomb-making materials had booked a hotel room near Seattle Center.

AP-NY-12-28-99 0343EST


7 Border Arrests, But No Terror Link


.c The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) (December 27, 1999)  - Seven Jordanians were arrested at the Canadian border on what officials Monday called routine illegal immigration charges - not terrorist suspicions, as originally announced.

Three men, two women and two children were taken into custody by U.S. officials Sunday afternoon near the checkpoint at Blaine, Wash., about 100 miles north of Seattle. The crossing was shut down for more than two hours.

One of the women, who was with a toddler and was legally in Canada, and a man in the process of becoming a Canadian citizen, left a car at a duty-free shop on the Canadian side and walked across the border in a nearby park, authorities said.

U.S. Border officials picked them up and then found four other people who were waiting to meet them - the woman's husband and a couple and their toddler, said Deputy Chief Gene Davis of the U.S. Border Patrol at Blaine.

``It's real common. When we catch people coming out of the park, we immediately begin looking around the area to see if anyone's waiting to meet them,'' said Davis, noting that his agency caught 2,500 people from 70 countries that way last year.

Hours after the arrests, Constable Archie Alafriz of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had reported that at least one of the men who was arrested ``had an affiliation with a known terrorist group.''

But the FBI said Monday that authorities had misinterpreted a criminal record in Philadelphia that said the man once made ``terroristic threats,'' a phrase that can be applied to several kinds of violence.

``It looks like, in reviewing that record, it is in connection with assault or domestic violence,'' FBI agent Roberta Burroughs said. ``We have no reason to believe at this time that these people have any ties to terrorist organizations.''

The woman who had been in Canada legally with her child, and the man who accompanied her were arrested for crossing the border illegally, Davis said.

The woman and two men who were already on the U.S. side had overstayed their visas, said Sharon Gavin, spokeswoman for the western region of Immigration and Naturalization Service based in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

The INS will process the entire party to determine their status, Gavin said. Some then may be processed for deportation to Jordan, she said, though those who entered from Canada may simply be returned there.

It was unclear whether the child found in the car on the U.S. side of the border had been born in the United States or in Jordan, Davis said.

U.S. border crossings are on heightened security as officials gird against possible terrorist attacks this week.

Over the weekend, the FBI interviewed an airline's ticket agents in Bellingham after a report that one agent sold a ticket to Abdelmajed Dahoumane, who is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to smuggle explosives into Washington state from Canada.

A source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the man paid for a ticket from Bellingham to Seattle, with a connecting flight to Las Vegas.

On Monday, the FBI said it cannot discuss specifics, but said there is no credible evidence that anyone suspected of terrorism has traveled to Las Vegas in recent weeks.

Dahoumane is suspected of being an accomplice of Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian who was charged with trying to smuggle nitroglycerin, other explosives and timing devices into Washington from Canada on Dec. 14. American and Canadian authorities are still looking for Dahoumane.

Five days after Ressam's arrest, a Canadian woman and an Algerian man were arrested at a remote border crossing in Vermont. The woman, Lucia Garofalo, has been linked by federal prosecutors to what they described as a terrorist group operating in Europe and Algeria.

AP-NY-12-27-99 2012EST


Four Arrested at U.S.-Canadian Border


.c The Associated Press

SEATTLE (Dec. 27, 99) - Four people, one with suspected terrorist links, were arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol on Sunday at a U.S.-Canada border crossing, Canadian law enforcement officials said.

The Border Patrol and the FBI refused to comment or confirm the arrests.

The three men and woman remained in custody after their arrest at about 4 p.m. Sunday. Their identities and citizenships were not known.

The arrests were made by U.S. officials at the border crossing in Blaine, Wash. after the woman parked her car at a duty-free shop on the Canadian side of the border and joined the men after walking across, said Constable Archie Alafriz of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

He said it appeared the Border Patrol had been monitoring the three men, and after the woman joined them, ``the Border Patrol checked with the FBI to confirm their sourcing - the identity of the fellow'' before arresting all four.

A search by RCMP officers and a bomb-sniffing dog found no explosives or suspicious materials in the woman's car, Alafriz said.

``We reported back to the Border Patrol that there's no evidence of any terrorist paraphernalia in the vehicle,'' he said.

The crossing - one of the busiest in the United States - was shut down at about 5 p.m. and reopened at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, he said.

The men were in the United States illegally and had driven there from Pennsylvania in a rental car, Alafriz said.

The reported arrests come in the wake of heightened security precautions at all U.S.-Canada border crossings as the countries gird against possible terrorist attacks in the coming days.

On Dec. 14, an Algerian national was arrested by U.S. authorities as he arrived from Canada by ferry at Port Angeles, Wash.

Authorities reported finding nitroglycerin and other explosives, as well as timing devices, in the trunk of Ahmed Ressam's rental car.

Ressam, 32, has pleaded innocent to charges of illegal explosives smuggling and providing false immigration information to U.S. Customs agents. He is being held near Seattle by federal authorities.

Federal authorities said Abdelmajed Dahoumane, a suspected accomplice to Ressam, was reported spotted by an airline ticket agent on Dec. 17 in Bellingham, Wash., about 20 miles south of the Blaine crossing.

News reports have identified Dahoumane as the man who stayed with Ressam in a Vancouver, British Columbia motel in the weeks before Ressam's arrest. He has since been sought in Canada and the United States.

A Canadian woman and a male Algerian companion were arrested at a remote border crossing in Vermont on Dec. 19. The woman, Lucia Garofalo, has been linked by federal prosecutors to what they described as a terrorist group operating in Europe and Algeria.

U.S. and Canadian authorities traced Garofalo's cellular phone and car to an organization called the Algerian Islamic League, prosecutors said. They said the group's founder is an arms trafficker for terrorists.

Garofalo, 35, and Bouabide Chamchi, 20, were charged with conspiring to misuse a false passport and offenses related to the transportation of aliens into and inside the United States.

AP-NY-12-27-99 0502EST


U.S. Probes Algerian's Background


.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - (December 24, 99)  An Algerian man arrested for allegedly trying to bring bomb-making materials into Washington state may have been trained in Afghanistan or Pakistan, federal authorities said today.

While U.S. investigators combed through new information from Canadian officials that indicates he was trained in the early 1990s in Afghanistan, The Associated Press learned separately that he may have been trained in Pakistan.

There are strong indications the Algerian had some connection to terrorists groups in that country, but there is little reason so far to link him to a terrorist network believed headed by Osama bin Laden, who is in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official told the AP.

Concern about terrorist activities in neighboring Pakistan caused the State Department in August to ban all travel by American officials to the tribal areas of Pakistan's northwest frontier province, which lie outside the normal jurisdiction of the Pakistani government.

The U.S. investigators learned that the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service has been monitoring the activities of Ahmed Ressam for years, officials told The Associated Press on Thursday, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. officials, familiar with progress of the investigation, said authorities were trying to determine whether Ressam, whose car allegedly contained nitroglycerin when he was stopped at Port Angeles, Wash., was part of a terrorist organization - including the network headed by reputed terrorism mastermind bin Laden.

Ressam pleaded innocent in Seattle on Wednesday to charges of transporting explosives, making false statements and smuggling.

Bin Laden, a Saudi exile, has lived in Afghanistan, and the officials said Canadian authorities believed Ressam received training there in the early 1990s before moving to Canada in 1994.

Meanwhile, Americans in neighboring Pakistan were urged by the State Department to be extra cautious. The department said there is serious concern for the safety and security of Americans throughout the country. They were told not to travel to the Khyber Pass, a favorite tourist attraction, and travel by U.S. officials there was severely limited.

Across the country in Vermont, prosecutors asserted Thursday that a woman arrested entering the country this week has ties to an alleged Algerian terrorist organization.

The Washington state and Vermont arrests followed the recent detention of 14 individuals in Jordan who were suspected of planning terrorist attacks on tourist sites and U.S. targets in the kingdom.

The 14 are believed to have ties to bin Laden, who is alleged by U.S. officials to have masterminded the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa last year.

U.S. authorities say bin Laden is communicating with his supporters and has issued calls for terrorists to strike Americans during the holidays.

``Bin Laden is from a wealthy family. He has independent money to buy the best communications (equipment) known and also weapons,'' Sen. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in an interview Thursday.

Shelby, R-Ala., said a U.S. military attack ``would be in order'' if any terrorist group makes the ``terrible mistake'' of attacking Americans. He said U.S. intelligence is relentlessly pursuing bin Laden and ``sooner or later, I believe our search and our diligence will pay off.''

Shelby's Democratic counterpart on the intelligence panel, Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, cautioned that American officials risked ``making a wider war'' if they are not careful when publicly identifying possible terrorists.

``We take sides in regional conflicts, we are forward deployed, we are a very successful liberal democracy that tends to breed jealousy if not outright animosity,'' he said.

Since Ressam's arrest last week, the government has stepped up security at border crossings, federal buildings and airports. It also has urged caution for Americans worldwide during year-end celebrations, and the FBI warned again Thursday that Americans should watch for potential mail bombs.

U.S. officials said late Thursday they were pursuing numerous leads in many cities but had not substantiated any specific threats against any domestic sites. Nonetheless, the Energy Department was taking extra security precautions at its nuclear weapons facilities and other sites, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said.

The U.S. attorney's office in Vermont said American intelligence has connected Lucia Garofalo, the Canadian woman arrested Sunday at a remote border outpost in that state, to the Algerian Islamic League.

Authorities traced Garofalo's cellular phone and car to an Algerian man living in Canada, Brahim Mahdi, who authorities said was a member of the Algerian Islamic League. Federal prosecutors in Vermont said the group's founder was Mourad Dhina, whom they described as an arms trafficker for terrorists.

Mahdi, in an interview in Montreal on Thursday, said he had no connection with terrorism. Dhina, a scientist living in Geneva, said the claims being made about him were ``completely surreal.''

The allegations were leveled during a hearing in federal court on whether to keep Ms. Garofalo, 35, and the Algerian man accompanying her, Bouabide Chamchi, 20, in jail. U.S. authorities first had said traces of explosives were detected in the car they were driving, but later said further checks had turned up nothing.

Chamchi, who was accused of trying to enter the country with a falsified French passport, was ordered held without bail because of the risk he might flee. Ms. Garofalo, who was accused of attempting to transport an illegal alien into the country, was being held without bail at least until her hearing resumes Dec. 30.

AP-NY-12-24-99 1032EST


Border Suspect Tied to Terror Group


.c The Associated Press

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - (December 23, 1999)  A woman arrested at the Vermont-Canadian border has ties to an international group that is believed to have sponsored terrorist activities in Europe and Algeria, federal prosecutors said today.

The disclosure came as prosecutors argued successfully in federal court to keep Lucia Garofalo and Bouabide Chamchi in jail. Both were arrested Sunday at a remote border crossing in northeastern Vermont.

Their arrests, combined with the arrest of an Algerian man in Washington state last week on bomb-related charges, have stirred fears of terrorist attacks. At the same time, the State Department has warned that U.S. citizens abroad should be cautious over the holiday weekend because of possible terrorism.

In court documents, prosecutors said they have linked Ms. Garofalo's cell phone and the car she was driving to Brahim Mahdi, a member of the Algerian Islamic League, whose leader is said to be connected to ``organizations sponsoring a number of terrorist acts in Europe and Algeria.''

That information came from American intelligence sources, which the prosecutors did not identify.

Ms. Garofalo's cell phone account was opened by Mahdi, and the car she was driving when stopped at the border Sunday night was registered in his name, they said.

Prosecutors also said U.S. and Canadian authorities were investigating a land line telephone account connected to Ms. Garofalo. There were calls from that account to another Montreal number, the court papers said.

``This latter telephone number ... was reportedly associated with a person under investigation for the theft and sale of dynamite stolen in Ontario,'' said a document submitted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin.

Neither Ms. Garofalo nor Chamchi had an opportunity to speak during the proceeding.

The court documents, citing intelligence sources, said the Algerian Islamic League was founded and directed by Mourad Dhina.

``Dhina has been identified from other sources of information as an Algerian international arms dealer who resides in Switzerland and is connected to organizations sponsoring a number of terrorist acts in Europe and Algeria. Dhina is reported to be actively involved in the shipment of arms to terrorist organizations,'' the documents said.

Prosecutors said final tests by the FBI found no evidence of explosives or materials used to make them from samples taken from Ms. Garofalo's car in Beecher Falls. Two dogs trained to detect explosives had indicated the possibility of explosives in the right rear fender.

Chamchi was ordered held without bail pending trial because the court found he posed a substantial risk of flight. Ms. Garofalo will be in court again Dec. 30 to continue the detention hearing begun today.

``There are a number of connections with other organizations that we have concerns about,'' said U.S. Attorney Charles Tetzlaff. He did not identify the other organizations, referring to the information in the documents.

``I think that the government is trying to use common sense in this case,'' Tetzlaff said, referring to State Department warnings to be careful over the holidays.

AP-NY-12-23-99 1233EST


N.J. Man Charged With Tunnel Threat


.c The Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - (December 23, 1999)  Federal agents have charged a New Jersey man with threatening to leave a van filled with explosives in a tunnel leading to New York City.

Renato DeSousa Flor was arrested Wednesday at his Newark home by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force after America Online noticed a message was left on one of its Internet chat rooms.

``F.B.I. and C.I.A. BEWARE!'' warned the e-mail note, according to a statement Wednesday from the FBI's Newark office.

At a hearing today, Flor, 22, was ordered held without bail even though prosecutors said they did not believe he could have carried out the attack.

``We have found no evidence that Mr. Flor could carry out such a threat,'' said prosecutor Stuart Rabner.

The only time Flor spoke during the hearing was when he was asked if he could afford a lawyer. ``I probably could afford, through my family members,'' he replied.

Detention was requested by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan, who said Flor was considered a flight risk because he had an expired Brazilian passport.

The criminal complaint against Flor alleges that he posted the note early Wednesday, warning that a van with explosives would be parked in the middle of a New York-bound tunnel. The driver of the van was to escape the tunnel in an accompanying car.

The message specified both the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, which thousands of motorists use daily to travel between New York and New Jersey. Flor has admitted to sending the e-mail message, the FBI said.

Such a message ``does nothing more than heighten public panic,'' said FBI Acting Special Agent Garey Chin.

As the Year 2000 approaches, government officials from President Clinton to local police are issuing reminders to be on the lookout for warning signs of terrorist attack, especially in large crowds. U.S. officials have tried to assure Americans they are doing all they can to prevent terrorist attacks.

In response to the message, police and bomb-sniffing dogs were placed at several tunnels leading into New York City on Wednesday morning, and officers were ordered to check trucks entering the Holland and Lincoln tunnels from New Jersey.

No explosives were recovered at Flor's home, officials said. He was charged with transmitting a threat to injure, a federal offense that carries a possible five-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine.

AP-NY-12-23-99 1251EST



Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Boeing plant in Everett is evacuated

by Keiko Morris

Seattle Times Snohomish County bureau

Workers at Boeing's Everett plant were evacuated this morning after a note threatening to bomb the facility was discovered in one of the men's bathrooms.

A Boeing employee found the note and brought it to the attention of Boeing security about 7 a.m., said Ida Hawkins, a spokeswoman at the Everett facility.

The note said that a bomb would be detonated in the factory at a scheduled time, Hawkins said. She did not know what time the note claimed the bomb would explode.

Workers evacuated the plant three hours later, she said.

Hawkins did not know why there was a delay between the time the note was found and security officials cleared the facility.

Employees reported to their planned meeting posts and then dispersed for lunch while Boeing's security team and fire department checked the building for bombs.

Hawkins did not say how many workers were evacuated. Approximately 10,000 workers are employed at the plant, where Boeing's widebody 747, 767 and 777 jets are built.

Hawkins said that so far, no bomb had been found.

Workers were allowed to return to the facility about noon.

Copyright ? 1999 The Seattle Times Company


December 21, 1999

Justice blames Canada for terrorist’s entry

By Ben Barber


U.S. Justice Department officials yesterday said Canada’s soft laws on political asylum opened a back door through which suspected terrorist Ahmed Ressam was able to enter the United States last week with bomb-making materials.

U.S. Justice Department officials yesterday said Canada’s soft laws on political asylum opened a back door through which suspected terrorist Ahmed Ressam was able to enter the United States last week with bomb-making materials.

“We are concerned by the fact that Canada’s laws do facilitate the entry into the United States of individuals who may pose a terrorist threat — even the Canadians recognize that,” said a Justice Department official.

“This relates most directly to their refugee and asylum policies and their general policy of not detaining people who ask for refugee status — whereas in the United States they might be detained” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Ressam is being held in Seattle by federal authorities after he was discovered carrying nitroglycerine, timers and other bomb-making materials in the trunk of a rented car he brought into Port Angeles, Wash., near Seattle, on a ferry from Victoria, British Columbia, last week.

Government officials yesterday told Rep. Norm Dicks, Washington Democrat, they are investigating at least one other border crossing involving an apparently fake identification and other “similar circumstances” to the attempted crossing in Port Angeles, said George Behan, Mr. Dicks’ spokesman.

“They briefed [Mr. Dicks] and expressed the concern that the Port Angeles case may not be an isolated incident,” Mr. Behan said.

Border Patrol officials yesterday said an Algerian citizen with a falsified Canadian passport along with a woman of unknown nationality were arrested at the northeastern Vermont border town of Beecher’s Falls.

Mark Henry, assistant chief of the Border Patrol sector covering Vermont, said he knew of no link between the Washington case and the attempted entry in Vermont.

U.S. officials said Mr. Ressam is linked to the Osama bin Laden terror network, and police in Montreal, where he had been staying the past month, link him to the Armed Islamic Group of Algerian terrorists.

Mr. Ressam, an Algerian, entered Canada in 1994 and applied for asylum, said Hugette Shouldice, spokeswoman for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

“In 1995, he failed to show up for a hearing and was detained,” she said, speaking by telephone from Ottawa. But without knowledge of any terrorist connection, the court let him go free, requiring only that he report for regular monitoring, she said.

In May 1998, a warrant was issued for his arrest, but “we were unable to locate him,” she said.

Canada’s chief intelligence officer last year said that dozens of international terrorist groups were operating in the country in part because of the nation’s lax immigration policies.

Canada’s asylum system, which has largely allowed applicants to go free on parole during the average 13 months it takes to complete the application process, was criticized by an auditor general’s report in 1997.

“Weaknesses pervade the entire process — a lack of coordination, integration, strategic direction and overall follow-up,” the report said.

Ward Elcock, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told a parliamentary committee in June 1998 his agency was investigating 50 terrorist groups in Canada. Some had links to bombings at the World Trade Center in New York, in Israel, Egypt, India and Northern Ireland.

Canada’s democratic principles, multiethnic society and policy of welcoming immigrants meant it “can be seen as a haven” for terrorists, Mr. Elcock said.

U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman Russ Bergeron said yesterday that INS officials posted in Victoria were suspicious of Mr. Ressam even before he boarded the ferry and they alerted authorities who tried to detain him when he landed in the United States.

Mr. Ressam fled on foot but was chased down and tackled six blocks from the ferry customs post.

Ever since the bombing of the World Trade Center by Middle Eastern Islamists, some of whom had been granted political asylum when they entered the United States, U.S. authorities have detained asylum seekers and tightened admittance standards, said Elisa Massimino, director of the Washington office of the Lawyers Committee for Refugees.

“Ressam would certainly have been detained in the United States,” she said.

The new rules are “Draconian” at times because airport decisions are made by officials with little training or information about people who may be returned to their country to face persecution, she said.

In comparison “Canadian law has been perceived to be generous on the merits granting asylum —they have a higher grant rate than the United States.”

She noted that Mr. Ressam was never granted asylum, but that he was allowed to remain at large.

Media reports say Mr. Ressam could be linked with an Algerian crime gang based in Montreal that committed robberies and sold the goods for money sent to terrorist groups overseas.


Second Algerian Arrested at Border


.c The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) (December 21, 1999) - A second Algerian allegedly carrying false identification has been arrested at a U.S. border checkpoint as the federal government tightens security at scores of entry points into the United States.

The U.S. Border Patrol said Monday the man used a falsified Canadian passport at the tiny border station in Beecher Falls in Vermont's northeast corner. With him was a woman whose background wasn't immediately detailed by authorities.

Mark Henry, assistant chief of the Border Patrol sector covering Vermont, said he could not provide identification for either person. Both were jailed pending a federal court appearance in Burlington.

``I don't know why they were here. It could be as simple as she's smuggling him into the United States,'' he said.

He said he expected the man to be charged with presenting false papers at a port of entry and the woman to be charged with attempting to smuggle an alien into the country.

Last week, a man was arrested while trying to enter Port Angeles, Wash., on a ferry from Victoria, British Columbia. Authorities said Ahmed Ressam had nitroglycerin and other potential bomb-making materials in his car when he was arrested

Vincent Illuzzi, the prosecutor for Vermont's Essex County, where the attempted entries were allegedly made, said he had been told there was no clear link between the Washington state and Vermont arrests.

The U.S. Customs Service said Monday it has transferred 300 employees to inspection duty to facilitate more frequent and thorough border checks for explosives in light of the incidents in Seattle and Vermont.

Customs spokesman Roger Maier said the additional employees will remain on inspection duty until the new year arrives, but he declined to say to which ports of entry they were sent.

Inspectors are on a ``heightened state of awareness,'' said P.T. Wright, the Customs port director at the town of Nogales, on the Arizona-Mexico border.

``The same factors that key you onto a potential drug smuggler key you onto a potential terrorist: The story that doesn't quite match, the nervousness,'' Wright said. ``They're trained to look for things that just don't fit the norm.''

Meanwhile, Kevin Weeks, Michigan's U.S. Customs management director, said authorities there were adding more staff at the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

Farther west, authorities were beefing up security along the U.S.-Canada border from the northeastern tip of Minnesota to Montana. It has 28 land ports of entry, including some of the nation's most remote.

``We are on a state of heightened alert,'' said Dean Hove, deputy district director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. ``It's a matter of taking more time.''

AP-NY-12-21-99 0856EST


Suspect's Ties to Theft Ring Probed


.c The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) - An Algerian charged with bringing bomb-making materials into Washington state from Canada may be connected to a theft ring that funneled funds to terrorist groups, authorities say.

Ahmed Ressam - currently in federal detention near here after being charged Friday - was jailed for a few weeks in Montreal last year for stealing laptop computers and cellular phones from cars, Montreal Police spokesman Andre Poirier said Sunday.

Ressam is suspected of being an associate of Said Atmani, who is believed to be the head of a Montreal crime ring that engaged in such thefts, Poirier said.

``We have reason to believe that the money that was gathered after selling those goods was distributed to some terrorism groups,'' Poirier said.

Investigators believe the money raised through the thefts was quickly funneled out of Canada via a sophisticated network passing through France, Belgium, Italy, Kosovo, Pakistan and Algeria.

Last week, police arrested 11 alleged members of the ring, including eight Algerian nationals, Poirier said.

Newsweek magazine, citing unidentified Canadian police sources, reported this week that Ressam lived with Atmani in Montreal for a time. The magazine said Atmani was extradited from Canada to France in connection with a 1996 Paris subway bombing that killed four people and injured 86. The bombing was attributed to the Algerian radical Armed Islamic Group.

Newsweek also reported that Ressam is tied to the Montreal cell of the Armed Islamic Group, but Poirier said the link was a rumor not yet confirmed.

Vincent Cannistraro, former counterterrorism chief for the CIA, said Ressam has suspected ties to Osama bin Laden, the man U.S. officials believe leads a terrorist network involved in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last year.

On Sunday, police found a van belonging to Ressam and registered in the name of Benni Norris - one of his two aliases - in the east end of Montreal, said Cpl. Leo Monbourquette, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A security perimeter was set up and the area was evacuated.

A police bomb squad inspected the orange GMC van for more explosives. Police also have searched the apartment in Montreal that Ressam reportedly shared with Atmani, as well as a second car that had been reported stolen and another building in Montreal. Authorities wouldn't say what was found.

``When we arrested Mr. Ressam last year ... we weren't looking at that time to associate him with terrorism,'' Poirier said.

Cannistraro said in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer that at least 50 known terrorist groups are present in Canada because they face fewer legal restrictions than in the United States, which bars fund raising by such organizations and their front groups.

Ressam, 32, was apprehended Tuesday allegedly trying to smuggle nitroglycerin and other explosives through Port Angeles in his car aboard a ferryboat from Victoria, British Columbia.

He was charged Friday with bringing nitroglycerin into the United States, in addition to a charge of having false ID and making false statements to U.S. Customs officials.

Poirier said a massive manhunt was under way in Canada and the United States for a suspected accomplice.

``He might be returning to Vancouver,'' Poirier said of the second man, believed to have stayed with Ressam for a few weeks in a Vancouver motel before Ressam's arrest Dec. 14.

``He might be in Seattle. We don't know,'' Poirier said.

Ressam reportedly had two ferry ticket stubs in his possession - suggesting a companion may have walked off the boat - when he was arrested in Port Angeles.

The FBI would not comment on the case, Seattle spokeswoman Roberta Burroughs said. Canadian Mounties spokesman Monbourquette confirmed the search but did not provide other details Sunday.

Ressam's arrest has sparked fears of terrorism in connection with millennial New Year celebrations. Security at U.S. borders has been tightened.

A fenced perimeter has been constructed around the Seattle Center - site of the Space Needle and a New Year's bash expected to draw 60,000 people.

AP-NY-12-20-99 1234EST


Canada Spy Chief Gave Warning


.c The Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) - More than a year before an Algerian was charged with bringing explosives into Washington state from British Columbia, Canada's intelligence chief warned that dozens of international terrorist groups were operating in the country.

Ward Elcock, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told a parliamentary committee in June 1998 his agency was investigating 50 terrorist groups in Canada.

Canada's democratic principles, multiethnic society and policy of welcoming immigrants meant it ``can be seen as a haven'' for terrorists, Elcock said then. Sharing a long, often remote border with the United States, a major target of some groups, made it even more attractive, he said.

The risk of an attack has come under increased scrutiny since the Dec. 14 arrest of Ahmed Ressam, a 32-year-old Algerian who officials say entered the United States at Port Angeles, Wash., in a vehicle carrying nitroglycerine and other components of a possible bomb.

The FBI heads the Ressam case investigation, and Canadian agencies involved - led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Elcock's intelligence service - have made little information available.

Media reports say Ressam could be linked with an Algerian crime gang based in Montreal that committed robberies and sold the goods for money sent to terrorist groups overseas.

Investigators believe the money raised through the thefts was quickly funneled out of Canada via a sophisticated network passing through France, Belgium, Italy, Kosovo, Pakistan and finally, Algeria.

Montreal police spokesman Andre Poirier said 11 members of the gang, including eight Algerians, were arrested last week, but he was unable to confirm a connection with Ressam.

In his testimony last year, Elcock said the groups known to his agency were raising money for international terrorist networks or helping them with logistics.

He said terrorists working in Canada had direct or indirect links to the World Trade Center bombing in New York, suicide bombings in Israel, attacks on tourists in Egypt, assassinations in India and the bombing campaign of the Irish Republican Army.

Since Ressam's arrest, border guards have been put on high alert and patrols have increased, particularly at remote border points.

``We're obviously doing this to make sure the borders are secure and that we stop anyone who would engage in terrorist activities,'' said U.S. Customs spokesman Bill Anthony. ``There seems to be a threat at this particular time.''

AP-NY-12-20-99 1654EST


U.S. Authorities Urge Caution Over Holidays


.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Dec. 20) - Despite the arrest of a man trying to smuggle explosive materials into Washington state aboard a ferry from Canada, U.S. authorities know of no specific terror threats against domestic targets, President Clinton's national security adviser said Monday.

But the arrest, and suspicions that the man may be linked to terrorist groups, prompted officials to heighten security and to caution Americans to watch out during the holiday season for signs of terrorist activities.

And the U.S. Customs Service said it is putting on duty 300 extra inspectors at high-priority entry points.

There also were signs that government officials have expanded their investigation to other cities.

Government officials told Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., they are investigating at least one other border crossing involving an apparently fake identification and other ''similar circumstances'' to the attempted crossing in Port Angeles, Wash., said George Behan, Dicks' spokesman.

''They briefed (Dicks) and expressed the concern that the Port Angeles case may not be an isolated incident,'' Behan said.

A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. officials were investigating a weekend incident involving a couple who tried to cross the Canadian border into the northeastern United States and presented false documentation.

But the official did not know if the couple were being detained or if there were any links to the investigation in Port Angeles. ''The only simiarity in the two cases were the people entered from Canada and presented false documentation,'' the source said.

Sandy Berger, the president's national security adviser, said U.S. authorities are investigating what plans Ahmed Ressam may have had for the nitroglycerin and other potential bomb-making materials in his car when he was arrested in Port Angeles, Wash., after taking a ferry last week from Victoria, British Columbia.

Speaking to reporters, Berger urged Americans to be vigilant as they plan New Year's activities but also said officials know of no specific threats against targets in the United States.

At the State Department, spokesman James Foley said it was too early to know if Ressam is a member of a terror group.

''Obviously, they're looking into his motivation, his intentions, whether he had accomplices and whether he was part of a wider network and is affiliated with international terrorist groups,'' Foley said.

Foley noted that the State Department recently cautioned Americans abroad to be especially careful.

''We've indicated that we have information that terrorists are undertaking planning for attacks during the New Year period'' overseas, Foley said. ''It is obviously particularly important now for there to be maximum vigilance.''

At the White House, presidential press secretary Joe Lockhart said Clinton had been briefed on counterterrorism efforts in the pre-New Year's period, including Ressam's capture.

''We have ongoing efforts that look at both international terrorism, protecting against domestic terrorism,'' Lockhart said. ''That work is something that the president has closely involved himself in and has done a lot of work on.''

At a ceremony in Washington honoring the four Customs agents who apprehended Ressam last week, Customers Commissioner Raymond Kelly said he is putting an extra 300 inspectors on duty at various points of entry, with particular attention to ''remote ports.''

Kelly did not say where the additional inspectors would be or how long the extra force would be on station. He said 300 would be added through overtime or by shifting people to high priority stations.

The additional inspectors will allow Customs to question more people entering the United States at airports, seaports and road crossings, Kelly said.

''We are applying additional resources to do additional contacts with the public coming through,'' Kelly said. ''It would mean more questioning, looking for perhaps questionable or suspicious activity, engaging in more conversation. That's basically how Customs inspectors work.''

Some 460 million people come into the United States each year though 301 points of entry.

''The message is that U.S. Customs Service ... is ready and prepared,'' Kelly said.

In Maine, U.S. Border Patrol agents have been called back to work from leave, and others are working overtime as the agency increased staffing levels in response to Friday's arrest across the country in Washington.

''There's no increase in border activity, but we are taking the necessary precautions,'' assistant Chief Matt Zetts said. Border Patrol agents monitor 27,000 square miles between Maine's two border checkpoints.

Carol Jenifer, district director for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Detroit, said more ''secondary inspections'' will be performed if there are indications that a driver may not be qualified to enter the United States. A secondary inspection is done by having a driver pull off to the side of the road.

''We're just not taking any chances,'' she said.

AP-NY-12-20-99 2042EST


Smuggler's Alleged Accomplice Sought

Algerian Accused of Smuggling Bomb-Making Materials May Be Connected to Theft Ring


.c The Associated Press

SEATTLE (Dec. 20, 99) - An Algerian man charged with bringing bomb-making materials into Washington state from Canada may be connected with a theft ring that funneled funds to terrorist groups, authorities say.

Ahmed Ressam - currently in federal detention near here after being charged Friday - was jailed for a few weeks in Montreal last year for stealing laptop computers and cellular phones from cars, Montreal Police spokesman Andre Poirier said Sunday.

According to Poirier, Ressam and Said Atmani, the man believed to be the head of a Montreal crime ring which engaged in identical thefts, are connected.

''We have reason to believe that the money that was gathered after selling those goods was distributed to some terrorism groups,'' Poirier said.

Investigators believe the money raised through the thefts was quickly funneled out of Canada via a sophisticated network passing through France, Belgium, Italy, Kosovo, Pakistan and finally, Algeria.

Last week, police arrested 11 alleged members of the ring, eight of them Algerian nationals, Poirier said.

Newsweek magazine, citing unnamed Canadian police sources, reported in this week's issue that Ressam lived with Atmani in Montreal for a time. The magazine said Atmani was extradited from Canada to France in connection with the 1995 Paris subway bombing that killed four people and injured 86. The bombing was attributed to the Algerian radical Armed Islamic Group.

Newsweek also reported that Ressam is tied to the Montreal cell of the Armed Islamic Group, but Poirier said the link was a rumor not yet confirmed.

Additionally, Vincent Cannistraro, former counterterrorism chief for the CIA, said Ressam has suspected ties to Osama bin Laden, the man U.S. officials believe leads a terrorist network involved in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last year.

On Sunday, police found a van belonging to Ressam and registered in the name of Benni Norris - one of two aliases he allegedly used - in the east end of Montreal, said Cpl. Leo Monbourquette, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A security perimeter was set up and the area was evacuated.

A police bomb squad from Ottawa was called in to inspect the orange GMC van, which police suspected may contain more explosives. Police also have been searching the apartment in Montreal that Ressam reportedly shared with Atmani.

''When we arrested Mr. Ressam last year ... we weren't looking at that time to associate him with terrorism,'' Poirier said.

Cannistraro said in today's editions of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that at least 50 known terrorist groups are present in Canada because they face fewer legal restrictions than in the United States, which bars fund-raising by such organizations and their front groups.

''A number of terrorist groups find Canada a benign area in terms of fund raising, organizing and presence,'' Cannistraro said. ''Terrorist groups naturally gravitate to Canada.''

The danger from terrorists operating in Canada was previously thought to be aimed mainly outside the United States, but Ressam's arrest has changed that thinking, Cannistraro said.

Ressam, 32, was apprehended Tuesday allegedly trying to smuggle nitroglycerin and other explosives through Port Angeles in his car aboard a ferryboat from Victoria, British Columbia.

He was charged in U.S. District Court on Friday with bringing nitroglycerin into the United States, in addition to a charge of having false ID and making false statements to U.S. Customs officials.

The Seattle Times reported in Sunday's editions that Ressam may be indicted by a secret grand jury before a scheduled appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Poirier said a massive manhunt was underway in Canada and the United States for a suspected accomplice.

''He might be returning to Vancouver,'' Poirier said of the second man, believed to have stayed with Ressam for a few weeks in a Vancouver motel before Ressam's arrest Dec. 14.

''He might be in Seattle. We don't know,'' Poirier said.

Ressam reportedly had two ferry ticket stubs in his possession - suggesting a companion may have walked off the boat - when he was arrested in Port Angeles, a port city of 20,000 about 60 miles northwest of Seattle.

The FBI would not confirm that another man was being sought or otherwise comment on the case, Seattle spokeswoman Roberta Burroughs said. Police spokesman Monbourquette confirmed the search but did not provide other details Sunday.

Ressam's arrest has sparked fears of terrorism in connection with millennial New Year celebrations. Security at U.S. borders has been tightened.

A fenced perimeter has been constructed around the Seattle Center - site of the Space Needle and a New Year's bash expected to draw 60,000 people. Some Seattleites have said news of the arrest has prompted them to plan to stay home as the millennium turns.

AP-NY-12-20-99 0625EST


Pakistan Holds 200 Near Afghanistan

.c The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - (December 19, 1999) Pakistani authorities arrested more than 200 people they fear may try to attack U.S. citizens in Pakistan, an intelligence official said Sunday.

Security at Pakistan's international airports has been tightened to try to track followers of Saudi suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, the official said.

``We don't want any terrorism in our country against the Americans nor do we want our soil used for any such activity abroad,'' said the intelligence official, who did not want to be identified.

The arrests were made during a series of overnight raids in northwestern Peshawar, which borders Afghanistan, and in the federal capital of Islamabad, they said. Most of the detained were Afghan nationals.

They have been detained for interrogation following reports that bin Laden's supporters may attack American targets in Pakistan or use Pakistan as a transit route to other attack sites, said the official.

Last month, six rockets were fired in Islamabad targeting U.S. and U.N. buildings. The attacks occurred just two days before U.N. sanctions were imposed on the Afghanistan's Taliban rulers to demand they hand over bin Laden for trial either in the United States or a third country on terrorism charges.

The Taliban refuse to hand over bin Laden, saying there is no evidence of his involvement in terrorism and Afghan tradition bars handing over a guest to his enemies.

The United States accuses bin Laden of masterminding two attacks on its embassies in East Africa last year that resulted in the deaths of 224 people, including 12 Americans.

The U.S. State Department has warned that it has evidence of possible attacks against U.S. interests during the holiday season.

Pakistan's army-led government said it has received assurances from Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban's supreme leader, that his religious militia would not support any terrorist activity against Pakistan.

Last week, a Jordanian national, Khalil Deek, who had several aliases, was arrested in Peshawar and extradited to Jordan. He was detained because of his links to bin Laden's Al Qaida group.

Authorities in Pakistan said they believed that Deek was not operating alone in Peshawar. They said the arrests were in part to try to find his companions. They would not say whether any other members of bin Laden's group was arrested.

Also last week, 13 people allegedly belonging to the terrorist network were arrested in Jordan in connection with possible attacks.

AP-NY-12-19-99 0813EST


Bomb Threat Diverts KLM Flight

.c The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - (December 19, 1999) A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight en route from New York to Amsterdam made an unplanned stop early Sunday in Boston following a bomb threat.

Flight 644 was diverted to Logan International Airport after KLM received a threatening phone call, an airline official said. The official declined to elaborate.

The 757 jet arrived at Logan around 1 a.m., airport spokesman Phil Orlandella said.

After all 266 passengers and 13 crew members disembarked, police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the plane, baggage and cargo, Orlandella said.

The plane took off again around 6:30 a.m. The bags and cargo, however, were left behind to allow the police to search them again.

AP-NY-12-19-99 0919EST


Man Seized at Border for Explosives


.c The Associated Press

SEATTLE (Dec. 17, 99) - A man authorities said had bomb-making materials in his car as he crossed into the United States was charged Friday with bringing an explosive into the country.

The man identified in court as Ahmed Ressam, of Algeria, was charged with bringing the flammable, explosive oil nitroglycerine into the United States from Canada. He was also charged with having false identification and making false statements to U.S. Customs Service officials.

Ressam, 32, was arrested Tuesday at Port Angeles, on the Olympic Peninsula about 60 miles northwest of Seattle, when he fled Customs agents who sought to question him on his arrival by ferry from Victoria, British Columbia.

At a hearing Friday, Magistrate David E. Wilson authorized the destruction of two 22-ounce jars of the highly volatile and dangerous nitroglycerine. Defense lawyers wanted to test the material but the judge ordered its disposal, citing safety concerns.

Also found in Ressam's rented vehicle were 10 plastic bags containing 110 pounds of a white powder identified as urea, a legal substance used to make explosives and fertilizers; two plastic bags containing about 14 pounds of sulfate, used as a dessicant to absorb water and keep things dry; and four small black boxes containing homemade timers - a circuit board with a Casio watch and a nine-volt battery, court papers said.

''Preliminary analysis disclosed that when these materials are combined with a detonator, it would produce a large explosive device,'' court documents said.

Federal authorities did not say during the court hearing what Ressam planned to do with the materials or why he was coming to the United States. His lawyers refused to comment.

Ressam had reserved a room Tuesday in a downtown motel just blocks from the Space Needle and the Seattle Center, site of the city's huge millennial New Year's Eve bash.

He also had a reservation Wednesday on American Airlines flight from Seattle to New York, with a stop in Chicago, and a ticket for a connecting British Airways flight to London, according to court papers.

Customs officials at the ferry crossing became suspicious when his itinerary showed he had come from Vancouver and was heading to Seattle - a 140-mile drive that does not require a trip to Vancouver Island, a ferry ride or a stop in Port Angeles, said FBI spokesman Pat Jones in Washington, D.C.

When the inspector asked about his roundabout route, Ressam became nervous, Jones said. He fled after inspectors searched his car and found the urea and was caught several blocks away.

Ressam was carrying two Canadian driver's licenses, each in a different name, and a Canadian passport. The names were Benni Antoine Noris and Mario Roig.

Someone using the name Benni Norin made a reservation for Tuesday night at the Best Western Loyal Inn in downtown Seattle, said manager Cathy McMurrin. Norin never showed, Ms. McMurrin said, and never attempted to make another reservation.

The timing of his arrival - shortly before the millennial New Year's Eve - ''is very interesting,'' said Jesse Chester, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. ''It raises a lot of questions in a lot of our minds as far as motive.''

AP-NY-12-17-99 2206EST


U.S., Canada Probe Possible Bombing Plot

By Allan Dowd


VANCOUVER (Dec. 18, 99) - U.S. and Canadian authorities were trying to determine Saturday whether an Algerian-born man charged with trying to bring explosives into the United States had accomplices in what may have been a millennium bombing scheme.

Ahmed Ressam, 32, was detained Tuesday and later charged with attempting to transport explosive materials into the United States from Canada and making false statements to U.S. Customs officers. He was in custody in Seattle.

Witnesses in Vancouver reported that Ressam had been staying at a motel in the Canadian city with another man for more than two weeks before Ressam attempted to enter the United States Tuesday at Port Angeles, Washington.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation in the United States, declined comment Saturday, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has referred all questions to U.S. authorities.

Canadian police Friday searched the room at the 2400 Motel where Ressam is reported to have stayed using the name Benni Noris -- the same name he gave to U.S. authorities when he attempted to cross the border.

Employees of the motel told news reporters the two men paid cash and maintained a low profile while staying at the motel, and that the floor of the motel room was often littered with plastic garbage bags.

In a complaint filed against Ressam late Friday, U.S. authorities said they found two 22-ounce (660-ml) plastic jars containing nitroglycerin in the spare tire well of the car Ressam was driving. The jars were reportedly about three-quarters filled with nitro.

The car also contained 10 plastic bags with 118 pounds (53.5 kg) of white, powdered urea, which is used to manufacture explosives and fertilizer, along with four small black boxes, each containing a circuit board attached to a Casio watch and 9-volt battery connector.

''Preliminary analysis disclosed that when these materials are combined with a detonator, it would produce a large explosive device,'' the complaint said.

The complaint said Ressam had reserved a motel room in downtown Seattle for Dec. 14, the day he arrived, and was carrying airplane tickets that would have taken him the next day from Seattle to London via Chicago and New York.

The Seattle motel was located not far from the Space Needle tourist attraction, which is expected to be the focus of a large New Year Eve's celebration.

Ressam is believed to have come to Vancouver from Montreal, where he was thought to have been using an apartment. He was already wanted in Canada on theft and immigration charges. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used fingerprints to identify Ressam for the United States, officials said.

Montreal has a large Algerian immigrant community. Police there recently arrested 11 men in what they believe was a ring involved in theft to provide funds for Islamic guerrilla groups overseas.

Authorities in Montreal late Friday searched the apartment believed to have been used by Ressam, but they were unavailable for comment Saturday on what might have been found.

Reut17:31 12-18-99


Potential Bomb Materials Stolen


.c The Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (Dec. 17, 99) - Investigators believe 750 pounds of ammonium nitrate, 225 pounds of dynamite, 6,000 feet of detonation cord and several blasting caps were stolen from an Arizona rock quarry this week.

Federal agents were in the rugged mountains of northern Arizona Friday looking for evidence in the theft of the materials, which are commonly used in mining but could also be used to make a bomb. Authorities believe they stolen sometime between late Monday and Thursday.

Ammonium nitrate was the main ingredient in the 4,800-pound device used to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.

''If someone knew what they were doing, they could do a lot of damage,'' said Larry Bettendorf, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

He said the amount stolen from the flagstone quarry owned by Riverside, Calif.-based 3 Wins Mining Co. was unusual but that the theft itself was not.

''This kind of thing happens across the country all the time,'' Bettendorf said.

The ATF has 11 agents investigating the theft in a remote, rocky canyon west of Flagstaff near Drake.

Chief Deputy Sam Whitted of the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said authorities were aware of no threats related to the theft, and no suspects had been identified.

Nyal Niemuth, a mining engineer at the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources, said the area around the mine has roughly 25 quarries blasting out flagstone, a popular paving and decorative stone.

AP-NY-12-17-99 1911EST


Taliban Say U.S. Bin Laden Warnings Propaganda

KABUL (Reuters) - (December 15, 1999) Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement on Wednesday dismissed as baseless U.S. warnings about possible year-end terrorist attacks by Osama bin Laden, its shadowy Saudi-born guest.

``This is part of worldwide American government propaganda against the Taliban. It is baseless,'' Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil told Reuters.

Muttawakil said bin Laden, who lives in a secret hideout under Taliban protection, was not allowed to carry out political or military acts against any country.

``We want to reassure the world and Americans at large about this and reiterate our proposal to monitor his movements,'' the Taliban official said.

He was responding to a U.S. warning on Tuesday that Washington would hold the Taliban responsible for any attacks on Americans by bin Laden's followers.

Saudi-born bin Laden is charged with masterminding the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa last year, in which more than 200 people died.

The U.S. has failed to persuade the Taliban to hand over their  ``guest'' to stand trial over the bombings.

The blasts were followed in August 1998 by an abortive U.S. cruise missile attack on suspected bin Laden Afghan hideouts in southern Afghanistan. He was not hurt.

The Taliban have proposed the Organization of Islamic Conference deploy officials to monitor bin Laden's movements provided the United States does not carry out attacks on him.

Washington said on Tuesday its law enforcement authorities abroad arrested bin Laden followers in connection with a threat to attack Americans around the end of the year.

Jordan arrested a group of Jordanian nationals, an Iraqi and an Algerian who had returned from Afghanistan and were planning attacks in the kingdom, Prime Minister Abdul-Raouf al-Rawabdeh said on Wednesday.

Rawabdeh gave no further details, but his announcement appeared linked to the U.S. warning of possible attacks.  

One U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said a Middle Eastern government had arrested about a dozen bin Laden followers. He did not say where or when.

The Taliban official said on Wednesday that Washington's vow to hold the movement accountable for any attacks by bin Laden's followers was aimed at justifying economic sanctions against the Taliban. The movement controls more than 90 percent of one of the poorest states on earth.

``The reason behind the report is merely aimed at justifying the sanctions on Afghanistan. Each country on the verge of year 2000 wants to take a positive step and American government through this wants to show to the world that the sanctions are fair and needed,'' the foreign minister said.

The United States has banned American citizens from investing in Taliban-held Afghanistan and the United Nations slapped sanctions on the Taliban last month, banning the national carrier, Ariana, from flying outside Afghanistan.


Arrests Prompted Terrorist Warning

Dozen Arrested For Planning Attack to Coincide With New Year; bin Laden Linked to Suspects


.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Dec. 14, 99) - Arrests of a dozen individuals who allegedly were planning an anti-American terrorist attack to coincide with Year 2000 celebrations prompted last week's State Department warning to Americans abroad, U.S. officials say.

At least some of those detained have links with fugitive Saudi businessman Osama bin Laden, officials familiar with the developments said late Monday.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the arrests were made in a Mideastern country. They declined to identify the country, saying the investigation was continuing.

Bin Laden has been indicted by a New York grand jury on charges of conspiracy and murder in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 220 people. He is living in Afghanistan under the protection of the ruling Taliban militia.

His associates have been known to have been active in Turkey recently, other officials said.

The State Department on Saturday warned Americans living or traveling abroad to take extra precautions between now and the first week in January.

The warning cited ''credible information'' that terrorists were planning attacks ''specifically targeting American citizens.'' It suggested as likely targets locations where there would be large gatherings and celebrations.

One official with knowledge of the developments said the episode was ''one of the factors that went into the State Department decision to issue the warning over the weekend.''

State Department spokesman James B. Foley said earlier Monday that there was ''specific and credible information'' that terrorist groups have been planning attacks against American citizens overseas.

He said the threats were specifically connected to the New Year celebrations and Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting that began last week.

It was ''our obligation when we become aware of information that may impact on the travel and the safety of Americans to share that with the public,'' Foley said.

Although the alleged plotting took place in the Mideast, ''this is a worldwide threat,'' Foley said.

''We're not being specific about the exact nature of the threat because this is something which is under investigation,'' Foley added.

ABC News reported on Monday that possible targets were sites in Jerusalem or ''Christian sites on New Year's Eve'' such as the Vatican. However, an official familiar with the investigation could not confirm this, saying information on potential targets was ''not all that specific.''

This official said the arrests were ''a local operation'' and that the U.S. government did not participate.

''Associates of bin Laden appear to be involved in planning some sorts of attacks in relation to the end of the year,'' the official said.

''There are law enforcement efforts currently to work in response to the threat, and so it's not possible to be more specific than we have been publicly,'' said Foley.

''The information that we have does indicate that the potential attacks are related to end-of-year celebrations, during the new year, and the Ramadan period. I can't be more specific than that,'' Foley said.

AP-NY-12-14-99 0355EST

US Warns of Possible Terror Attacks


.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - (December 12, 1999)  The State Department's warning that terrorists could strike at large holiday gatherings abroad is cause for caution but not panic, top U.S. officials said Sunday.

Their comments came a day after the State Department cited ``credible evidence'' in warning of terrorist threats aimed at Americans traveling abroad for millennial celebrations.

But Secretary of State Madeline Albright stopped short of advising year's end revelers to stay home.

``We are concerned, obviously because there are a lot of activities going on, but we don't want to discourage people,'' Albright said Sunday on the CBS's ``Face the Nation.'' ``We are suggesting that if they do travel abroad, that they be in touch with the American embassy and the consulate and take care.''

And National Security Adviser Sandy Berger declined to steer U.S. citizens from any place in particular.

``This is not just in the Middle East, but in any location,'' Berger said Sunday on ABC's ``This Week.'' ``So I think there is a caution sign up, but not a stop sign.''

Saturday's warning did not ban travel and urged Americans to contact destination embassies or consulates for more guidance until early January, a time which coincides with Ramadan, a Muslim holy period that began this week.

The worldwide caution also told U.S. citizens abroad to avoid large crowds and gatherings and to keep a low profile, but it gave no details of the evidence of threats.

However, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press that the threat was linked to Osama bin Laden, who the U.S. government believes is the head of a terrorist network and is accused of involvement in the bombings last year of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The Saudi-born bin Laden is believed to have been given sanctuary by the militant Islamic Taliban group in Afghanistan.

Similar warnings - issued by the State Department in October and twice in November - have intensified with the emergence of bin Laden as an alleged terrorist mastermind. Such cautions frequently have been issued in the past in conjunction with the start of Ramadan, but observers Sunday said coming of the year 2000 could be an even bigger draw for terrorists.

``Terrorists love to exploit opportunity,'' said Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, in an appearance on NBC's ``Meet the Press.'' ``And an opportunity of confusion, which is what Y2K's definition may be, would be perfect for them.''

Paul Redmond, a former director for counterintelligence for the Central Intelligence Agency, agreed.

``Terrorists usually do things, awful things to get attention,'' he said on NBC. ``If you combine the act with this major historic event ... it's the time that they'd pick to do something.''

AP-NY-12-12-99 1333EST


Explosions Rock Downtown Islamabad

Rockets Hit Near U.S. Embassy, U.N. Building


.c The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Nov. 12, 99) - In what appeared to be a coordinated attack, seven rockets exploded today near the U.S. Embassy, the U.N. building, an American cultural center and downtown government buildings, officials said.

At least six people were wounded, but no Americans were hurt, a U.S. official said.

The blasts, which happened within a period of two minutes, caused no major damage, officials said. All the explosions struck at some distance from the buildings in relatively uncrowded places, police said.

''These are rockets fired from cars by unidentified people who have managed to flee,'' said a senior city official, Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Ali Khan.

There was no claim of responsibility for the blasts.

The blasts came as the United Nations and the United States are in a showdown with Afghanistan, Pakistan's neighbor, over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, who allegedly masterminded the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last year. The bombings left 224 people dead.

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia and its supporters elsewhere - including some Muslim groups in Pakistan - have warned the United Nations not to impose sanctions on Afghanistan, as the world body has promised to do unless bin Laden is turned over for trial.

The attacks came two days before the U.N.'s deadline for Afghanistan's leadership to turn over bin Laden, who has lived there for several years.

But the reclusive Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, condemned the Islamabad explosions in a statement from the southern Afghan city of Kanadhar.

''This act of terrorism is aimed to create misunderstanding between Afghanistan and rest of the world, specially to hurt Afghanistan's relations with Pakistan,'' Omar said. ''The incident is also aimed to create more complications between Afghanistan and the United States.''

Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, had no immediate comment on the identity of the attackers in an interview with The Associated Press. He said the attack is under investigation, and the government would take unspecified measures in response.

''We have just initiated some actions,'' he said. ''This is something which has happened, and it is quite serious. Officials are investigating. They will come back to me and report, and only then I would like to comment.''

The explosions all happened in the center of the capital. The explosion that hit near the U.N. building was near a Citibank branch. Another blast struck near the World Bank building.

Three blasts occurred near Pakistani government buildings, less than a half-mile from Parliament and its adjacent President House.

Before today, there had been little unrest in Pakistan since Musharraf ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup last month.

Pakistan is one of only three countries that recognize Afghanistan's Taliban government, which rules almost 90 percent of the country.

But in his first public statement after seizing power, Musharraf had signaled a shift in Pakistan's unequivocal support of the Taliban religious rulers, appearing to suggest that they share power with their opponents.

After the explosions, hundreds of people gathered outside the U.S. Information Services cultural center, known as the American Center, to watch a car burning there. A blackened rocket launcher could be seen inside the car, and witnesses reported seeing rockets fired from cars just before the explosions occurred.

''Two of the explosions were near the American Center and the U.S. Embassy,'' center spokesman Mark Wentworth said. ''All the Americans are safe.''

Behind the U.S. Embassy, a U.N. car was burning.

''I saw the car jump five to 10 yards after the blast, but luckily no one was close to it,'' witness Anjum Ahmed said. A student who identified himself only as Hussain said he was inside the library at the American Center when he heard the explosion and joined dozens of others in a rush outside to see what had happened.

Police and paramilitary troops patrolled the streets and searched vehicles. They erected barricades and pushed away onlookers, warning of the possibility of more explosions.

Sirens wailed from police cars, ambulances and fire trucks racing through the streets. Plumes of smoke rose in several areas.

AP-NY-11-12-99 0822EST

Report: Y2K Violence Threat Real

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) (October 31, 1999)- An FBI report prepared for the nation's law enforcement officials says the threat of violence by extremists to mark the new millennium is ``very real,'' The Washington Post reported.

The bureau said in a written statement on Oct. 20 that it was preparing the report, entitled Project Megiddo, and would share it with police chiefs at their upcoming convention.

The agency said the document analyzes ``the potential for extremist criminal activity in the United States by individuals or domestic groups who attach special significance to the year 2000.''

The Post reported in Sunday's editions that it had obtained a copy of the report, which FBI officials have said might eventually be made public.

The first official audience is to be a closed-door meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.

``The threat posed by extremists as a result of perceived events associated with the Year 2000 is very real,'' the Post quoted the report as saying. ``The volatile mix of apocalyptic religious and (New World Order) conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible.''

The Post said that while most of the report focuses on domestic threats, one portion is devoted to Jerusalem, where the FBI says an influx of tourists making pilgrimages and millennial cults will add to the danger.

``Israeli officials are extremely concerned that the Temple Mount, an area already seething with tension and distrust among Muslims and Jews, will be the stage for violent encounters between religious zealots,'' the Post quoted the study as saying. ``Additionally, several religious cults have already made inroads into Israel, apparently in preparation for what they believe to be the endtimes.''

The research report is named Megiddo after an ancient battleground in Israel cited in the Bible's New Testament as the site of a millennial battle between forces of good and evil.

The FBI said earlier it would examine ideologies ``which advocate or call for violent action beginning in the year 2000.''

``Such ideologies motivate violent white supremacists who seek to initiate a race war; apocalyptic cults which anticipate a violent Armageddon; radical elements of private citizen militias who fear that the United Nations will initiate an armed takeover of the United States and subsequently establish a One World Government, and other groups or individuals which promote violent millennial agendas,'' the FBI said in its earlier statement.

The report also outlines indicators of potential violence, possible preparations for violence and possible targets of millennial extremists.

``Our concern is with fringe, hate or apocalyptic groups or lone wolf members of them who may pose a threat,'' FBI spokesman Bill Carter said. ``We're not focusing on militias.''

Citing the report, the Post said agents have discovered that in preparation for the new millennium, certain individuals have been acquiring weapons, storing food and clothing, raising funds, procuring safe houses, preparing compounds, surveying potential targets and recruiting converts to their cause.

AP-NY-10-30-99 2351EDT

FBI Warns Of Y2K Race Violence


WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 99)- The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday it was warning local police about the danger of apocalyptic violence by white supremacist groups spurred by the dawn of the year 2000.

In a statement, the FBI said it had wrapped up ''Project Megiddo,'' a study of potential crimes ''by individuals or domestic groups who attach special significance to the year 2000.''

The study highlights the dangers of fringe white supremacists ''who seek to initiate a race war,'' it said. It was being distributed to law enforcement personnel nationwide.

The project was named for the ancient battleground in Israel associated with Armageddon, the biblical scene of a final battle between the forces of good and evil, prophesied to occur at the end of world.

''The report is intended to...(warn) of the unique challenges that may be presented by extremists motivated by millennial agendas,'' the FBI said.

The report also cited a Year 2000-related threat from those who fear the United Nations ''will initiate an armed takeover of the United States'' and set up a ''One World Government.''

FBI Director Louis Freeh told Congress earlier this year that the possible targets of such groups included Jews, non-whites and their supposed ''establishment allies, i.e. the federal government.''

In its statement, the FBI said it was aware that some militia groups had moved to purge violent extremists. ''These elements are often very small cells or lone actors,'' it said.

Reut18:56 10-20-99

Four Killed in Texas Shootout

.c The Associated Press

PLEASANTON, Texas (Oct. 13, 99) - Three law officers lured to a rural trailer park by a bogus 911 call were slain by a gunman who wounded two more people before killing himself, authorities said.

Two Atascosa County Sheriff's Department deputies and a Texas state trooper were gunned down with a high-powered rifle in the ambush late Tuesday south of San Antonio.

The gunman, who was not immediately identified, apparently lured them to his mobile home with a 911 call, said state Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike Cox.

''I don't remember anything like this since Waco,'' Cox said. ''Except that, there's really been nothing where there's been so many officers killed in Texas in my memory.''

The deputies were killed instantly as they approached the home, Cox said.

The suspect then apparently grabbed a pistol from one of the fallen officers, crossed a dirt road and hid himself in underbrush.

When the state trooper arrived, he sent out a radio call that officers were shot. He was shot before he could remove his seat belt, Cox said.

The suspect continued to fire at officers from his hiding spot, eventually killing himself with the stolen pistol. The wounded officers were listed in fair condition at a San Antonio hospital.

''It's very disturbing,'' Bexar County sheriff's deputy Clyde Ross said. ''It was a very bloody scene.''

AP-NY-10-13-99 0639EDT



Arrest Made in US Embassy Bombings

Tanzanian Brought to U.S. To Stand Trial


.c The Associated Press

NEW YORK (Oct. 8, 99) - A Tanzanian whose house allegedly was used as a bomb factory in last year's deadly attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa pleaded innocent to conspiracy charges Friday and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 26, was arrested Thursday in Cape Town, South Africa and brought to the United States for trial.

Mohamed, who had been living there under an assumed name, was named in an indictment tracing an alleged conspiracy that resulted in the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand told his lawyer to quickly find experts in death penalty litigation in the event the government chooses a death penalty prosecution. A trial is set to start Sept. 5.

Prosecutors said Mohamed played a direct role in the attacks that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. They allege he bought a white Suzuki Samurai used by the conspirators two months before the attack and rented the house in Tanzania for use as a bomb factory.

In the days prior to the attacks, he allegedly made final preparations for the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

During his arraignment Friday, Mohamed appeared relaxed as he entered the courtroom in a blue prison uniform. Asked to enter a plea, he answered, ''Yes, innocent.''

The judge ordered him held without bail under tight security as a flight risk and a danger to the community.

In Cape Town, South Africa, police spokesman Capt. Rod Beer said the FBI arrested Mohamed at the city's airport early Thursday as he was about to be deported for being in the country illegally.

Mohamed entered South Africa a few days after the bombings under the name of Zahran Nassor Maulid and applied for asylum. He received a temporary residence permit.

Working in a hamburger joint, he was an unnoticed fugitive until he went to renew his residency papers this week and was arrested by South African authorities for entering under false pretenses.

Sipho Ngwema, a spokesman for the South African national prosecutor's office, said Mohamed chose to go to the United States when he was told he was being deported.

U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said U.S. authorities were closing in on Mohamed after gaining vital information about him from a May 1998 passport application.

Seventeen people have been indicted in the case. Six, including Mohamed, are in custody in the United States and three overseas.

The rest remain fugitives, including alleged mastermind Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List. A $5 million reward has been offered for his capture.

White said the investigation continued to be ''quite intensive around the world,'' and she was confident that ''eventually we'll get them all.''

AP-NY-10-08-99 1728EDT

8 Killed on Eve of India Election


.c The Associated Press

NEW DELHI, India (AP) (October 2, 1999)- Suspected guerrillas pushing villagers to boycott India's elections set off a land mine Saturday, killing five people and wounding three others in Assam state on the eve of the last round of India's five-phase ballot, police said.

One local politician also was gunned down in the state, where rebels have been fighting security forces for several years for more autonomy. Police also shot and killed two rebels in Assam, bringing the day's death toll to eight in election-related violence.

All but a handful of India's districts will complete the five-phase election Sunday to choose 543 legislators for parliament. Counting of votes begins early next week and a new legislature must be in place by the middle of the month.

To stem further violence and prevent voting fraud, thousands of riot police fanned across sensitive polling stations in several states. At least 55 people have been killed in election-related violence so far. There also has been evidence of ballot stuffing and rigging in earlier phases of the election.

The vote was called after the collapse of the minority government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in April, when a regional party pulled out of his coalition.

Several opinion polls and exit surveys have favored Vajpayee's National Democratic Alliance, a loose coalition of 21 national and regional parties. The Congress party, which governed India for most of its 52 years of independence, is expected to place second, but without a clear majority to come to power.

In Vajpayee's voting district, Mahona - a town about 250 miles east of New Delhi - residents said they will not head to the polling stations on Sunday. Black protest flags fluttered at the homes of nearly 20,000 residents who haven't seen any development in the past two decades.

The roofs of the dilapidated school and health center in their area have collapsed. Electric wires hang loose across the town. There are no doctors and only five teachers for 400 students.

``No development, no vote. Politicians go back,'' said a banner at the town's entrance.

``We have decided to boycott the election to draw attention to our plight as all our efforts to make politicians ameliorate our lot have failed,'' said Nand Ram Verma, a village elder.

AP-NY-10-02-99 1829EDT

Five Deputies Charged in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) -(October 2, 1999) Five white sheriff's deputies face criminal charges for allegedly chasing and opening fire on a black couple in their car while the officers were off-duty. Two of the deputies were charged Friday with attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm. All five also were charged with obstruction of justice, prosecutors said. ``You have an individual firing into an occupied vehicle without any justification under the law,'' Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine said Friday.

Sources: Bomb Suspect in Custody


.c The Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -(October 1, 1999)  Police have a suspect in custody in two recent bombings at predominantly black Florida A&M University, law enforcement sources told The Associated Press today.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement took the suspect to its headquarters in Tallahassee, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The suspect was later transferred to another location in town.

Officials were not saying anything about the suspect, including whether the suspect was a man or a woman, black or white.

Two small explosions have gone off at the campus since Aug. 31.

The caller also warned of future attacks. The FBI said this week that one call said another one would happen today. Campus police said every building at the school was being searched every morning.

FAMU Police Chief John Earst arrived at FDLE headquarters early in the day but would not comment on why he was there or on the person in custody.

An FDLE spokeswoman wouldn't confirm an arrest but said a news conference was set this morning for ``a major, major announcement.''

Local, state and federal investigators descended en masse on the hilltop campus in Tallahassee after the first blast.

The FBI released a surveillance camera photo Thursday of a man they said has information about the case, but said the man wasn't a suspect.

The man was photographed buying something at a local Lowe's home store, the day before the first blast.

The first blast Aug. 31 involved a small device that went off in a men's room at an administration building 10 minutes after a warning was called in. Damage was very minor.

The second, larger than the first, was on Sept. 22. It was in the first-floor restroom of Perry Paige Hall, which has four floors of laboratories, offices, classrooms and the Navy ROTC office. Again, damage was minor.

Several campus buildings were evacuated after each blast.

AP-NY-10-01-99 0839EDT

Bomb Goes Off in Sri Lankan Bus

.c The Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - Sept. 25, 1999) A bomb went off in a bus in central Sri Lanka on Sunday killing one person and wounding 28 others, police said.

The explosion took place just outside Badulla, a town 140 miles east of the capital, Colombo, police said.

Police said no suspects have been identified, but authorities increased the number of road checkpoints in and around the town. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Most of the wounded had burn injuries but were in stable condition, said Dr. Kanesapillai Raj at the Badulla Hospital. Three people suffered serious injuries, he said.

The explosion came four days after two similar blasts in buses in the tourist resort town of Negombo. Ten people were injured in those blasts.

AP-NY-09-26-99 0916EDT



Man Killed After Attacking Mubarak

.c The Associated Press

PORT SAID, Egypt (AP) - Presidential guards fatally shot a man today after he grazed Hosni Mubarak with a sharp instrument as the Egyptian leader was waving to a crowd from inside a car, the government said.

``While the president was waving ... through the car's window, a person approached the motorcade holding a sharp tool and inflicted a light wound,'' said a statement from the president's office. It indicated Mubarak, who has survived three assassination attempts, was wounded on the arm.

``The special security guards dealt with the incident immediately and killed'' the assailant, the statement said.

An official statement from the police ministry identified the assailant as Said Hassan Suleiman, 40, a clothing vendor who ``has been known for impulsive behavior and recklessness.'' The statement added he had ``no political affiliations.''

Police sources added on condition of anonymity that Suleiman was a common criminal. The sources did not elaborate.

Mubarak's wound was treated with a disinfectant before the president went on to deliver a speech about an hour later. Sources said Mubarak then went to spend the night at the coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheik, where a day before he had presided over the signing of a new Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

One of his guards was cut slightly on a finger when he tried to stop Suleiman from reaching Mubarak, the government said.

Port Said, where the attack took place, is about 100 miles northeast of Cairo at the northern end of the Suez Canal. Mubarak was touring industrial projects there.

Egyptian television later showed videotape of crowds on the streets of Port Said cheering Mubarak, but cut away as shots rang out and did not show the attack. The next pictures showed Mubarak at the meeting hall, where supporters clapped and chanted ``Mubarak is the people's beloved! We salute you Mubarak!''

Mubarak said nothing about the attack in a speech devoted to economic development. He appeared composed, and had changed from a brown suit to a dark blue one.

The most serious of the attacks on Mubarak came in June 1995, when Muslim militants fired on his limousine as it was driving through Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the way to an OAU summit.

His predecessor, President Anwar Sadat, was assassinated in 1981 by Islamic militants angered at his having signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Mubarak, who was Sadat's vice president, became president after the assassination.

Mubarak is preparing for a presidential referendum Sept. 26 that he is expected to win. It would be his fourth six-year term in office.

AP-NY-09-06-99 1038EDT


Pakistan School Apparent Bomb Target


.c The Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) (Sept. 6, 1999)- Two bombs injured 11 people, mostly students, in southern Pakistan in an apparent attack on a Sunni Muslim religious school, police said.

Minutes after a bomb exploded outside the Ashraf-ul-Madaris religious school in Karachi, a second bomb ripped through a nearby school bus as teen-age students were preparing to board to return home.

Among the injured was a 40-year-old teacher, said officials at the school, who were reluctant to talk to reporters.

No one took immediate responsibility for the explosions. Police believe the two explosions likely targeted the school and its students, who are Sunni Muslims. Militants of rival Islamic sects have often clashed in Karachi, a city of 14 million people, but it wasn't clear whether the bombing was linked to sectarian violence.

Eyewitnesses said the second bomb was so powerful that it destroyed the small bus. Passers-by rushed the injured children to nearby hospitals. Witnesses said the road was strewn with blood and children's shoes.

AP-NY-09-06-99 1103EDT


Israeli Arabs Arrested in Bombings


.c The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP)(Sept. 8, 1999) - Two more Israeli Arabs were arrested today on suspicion of involvement in botched weekend car bombings in two Israeli towns, bringing the number of suspects in custody to seven, police said.

Three Israeli Arab men, believed to be the assailants, were killed in Sunday's attacks in the northern towns of Haifa and Tiberias. The explosives apparently went off prematurely. No bystanders were killed.

The bombings came a week after an Israeli Arab man stabbed to death a couple in northern Israel and said his only motive was to kill Jews.

The attacks have taken the country by surprise.

Many Israeli Arab leaders have expressed shock and condemned the violence. TV and radio talk shows debated whether the attacks were a sign of growing militancy among Israel's 1 million Arab citizens, who have long complained of systematic discrimination by the Jewish majority.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement that Israel needed to root out terror, both at home and abroad, but ``forcefully warned against any attempt to generalize and cast aspersion on an entire group of citizens, collectively.''

Israel radio quoted President Ezer Weizman as saying he was very disappointed to learn that the assailants in the bombings were Israeli Arabs. Weizman, like Barak, warned against making generalizations, the radio said.

The four assailants in the recent attacks had ties to the Islamic Movement, which has harnessed some of the anger and resentment among Israeli Arabs and has gained considerable political clout since its founding in the 1980s.

Israeli media said there may have been a connection between the suspected bombers and the Islamic militant group Hamas, which operates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Maariv daily said police were looking into the possibility that the bombs, including their timers, had been prepared in the Palestinian areas. The areas are still on summer time, which might explain why they blew up prematurely. Israel moved to winter time two days before the bombings.

The identity card of the man killed in the Haifa blast, Nazal Kraim, was found on the body of a Hamas member who blew himself up in the northern Israeli city of Afula in 1994, killing nine other people, the reports said. Israel radio said Kraim was the nephew of the Afula bomber.

Police spokesman Boaz Goldberg refused to comment on the reports.

The two new suspects, arrested before dawn today, were to be brought to a Tiberias court for a remand hearing later in the day, Goldberg said. The five suspects already in custody have been ordered held until September 17.

AP-NY-09-08-99 0608EDT


Explosions in Israel Follow Mideast Deal

By Jeffrey Heller


JERUSALEM (Sept. 5) - Suspected car bombs exploded in two northern Israeli cities Sunday, killing at least three people inside the vehicles less than 24 hours after Israel and the Palestinians signed a deal to revive peacemaking.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak responded to the explosions by declaring that Israel would not tolerate ''any kind of violence or terrorism against innocent civilians.''

But, in a statement issued by his office, he stopped short of threatening any halt to peacemaking with the Palestinians, put back on course by the new deal after an eight-month freeze.

The blasts, which police said bore the hallmarks of Islamic militant ''terror attacks,'' cast a familiar shadow over the Middle East peace process, brought to a standstill many times in the past by anti-Israeli suicide bombings and car blasts.

The first explosion occurred in the Sea of Galilee resort of Tiberias and the second in the Mediterranean port city of Haifa, minutes after Barak's cabinet overwhelmingly approved the ''Wye Two'' land-for-security deal.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosions, that were reminiscent of past attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which oppose peace moves between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

''We cannot dance to the tune of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They want the peace process to stop. We want it to continue,'' Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israel Radio.

The Palestinian Authority, accused by Israel's previous right-wing government of doing too little to curb militants, said it was committed to preventing violence.

''Even though we don't know the full story, I would like to express here the Palestinian Authority's firm policy of zero tolerance for terror,'' Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

''If this proves to be a terror attack we totally condemn it,'' he said. ''It's time for reconciliation. It's time to heal and it's time to move forward -- and I hope that these enemies of peace will be stopped,'' Erekat told CNN television.

The back-to-back blasts turned the cars into heaps of mangled metal, with glass and debris strewn across a wide area.

''A serious attack was prevented and the perpetrators were apparently killed,'' Barak's statement said, adding that a full investigation was under way.

Police said two people inside the vehicle in Tiberias and one person in the car in Haifa were killed in the blasts.

A spokesman for the Magen David ambulance service said at least two passersby were wounded in Tiberias, and one woman was in critical condition. A hospital official in Tiberias said four people were treated.

''I suddenly heard a huge explosion,'' one youth in Tiberias told Reuters. ''I literally saw body pieces on the ground.'' All that remained of the car was the bonnet and engine block.

In Haifa, police chief Dov Shechter said the vehicle blew up in a near-empty parking lot, suggesting the man inside had been killed while preparing a car bomb.

Israel's chief negotiator on the Wye Two deal, Gilad Sher, said the security of Israelis was paramount in any push for peace.

''Let me say that if we have violence, terrorist acts, no personal security for our people here, no peace process shall prevail over the personal security of the people of Israel,'' Sher said.

At the end of a four-hour debate, ministers voted 21-2 in favor of the Wye Two accord, a cabinet statement said.

The interim deal, Barak's first since taking office in July, gives Palestinians self-rule in 11 percent more of the West Bank, frees 350 Palestinian prisoners in two batches and sets a September 2000 target date for reaching a final peace agreement.

It also clears the way for intensified efforts to revive Israeli-Syrian talks frozen since 1996.

The deal, signed at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh by Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat just after midnight Sunday, was witnessed by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan.

Reut14:58 09-05-99