Egypt Detains American In Terrorist Cell Case

December 5th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Egypt Detains American In Terrorist Cell Case

Washington Post
December 5, 2006
Pg. 18

Suspect Was Not on U.S. Watch List
By Craig Whitlock, Washington Post Foreign Service
BERLIN, Dec. 4 -- Egyptian authorities said Monday that they had arrested an American and nearly a dozen Europeans after breaking up an international terrorist cell that was recruiting operatives to go to Iraq.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry said the cell was "related to some terrorist organizations abroad" but did not name the network or those arrested. The official Egyptian news agency MENA reported that the suspects included nine French citizens and two Belgians, as well as two Syrians, a Tunisian woman and an undisclosed number of Egyptians.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said U.S. officials knew the identity of the American and were "seeking consular access to this individual." He said the U.S. suspect was arrested Nov. 26 but declined to name the person, citing federal privacy laws.
A U.S. law enforcement official said the U.S. citizen "was not on our radar at all" before his arrest in Egypt and is not named on the government's voluminous terrorism watch list.
"He was not a known figure to the U.S.," the official said. "There's no record of him in the sense that he would have been a person of concern."
A handful of U.S. citizens have faced charges of engaging in terrorism overseas since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Adam Gadahn, a California native who is believed to be in Pakistan, was indicted in October on a charge of treason based on his alleged appearance in numerous al-Qaeda videotapes calling for the death of Americans and for attacks on U.S. targets.
Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, stands accused of traveling to the Middle East for military training and joining a North American terrorist cell, although a federal judge in Miami dismissed a charge of murder conspiracy, the most serious count he faced.
John Walker Lindh, a Californian, was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to providing services to the Taliban in Afghanistan and to carrying explosives during a felony. All three men are Muslim converts.
Egyptian officials said the cell members arrested there recently were operating in Cairo and Alexandria while masquerading as religious students, but released few other details.
"They were seeking to recruit others, teach them destructive beliefs, urging them for jihad and traveling to Iraq to carry out operations via other countries in the region," the Interior Ministry said in a statement announcing the arrests.
Police began to break up the cell in mid-November but continued making arrests for several days, according to Arab and European media reports. The French newspaper Liberation reported that four other French nationals were arrested on similar charges in Egypt in 2005 and were later deported.
Egyptian investigators did not say whether there was a connection between the European suspects and another local cell blamed for killing more than 100 people in three separate suicide attacks on the Sinai Peninsula since 2004.
On Thursday, three Muslim radicals were sentenced to death by an Egyptian court for their involvement in one of those attacks, the October 2004 bombing that killed 34 people in the Red Sea resort of Taba popular with Israeli tourists.
On Sunday, three days after the verdict, Israeli counterterrorism officials issued a warning that other attacks were being planned at Egyptian resorts along the Red Sea.
In India, a judge on Monday convicted six men of involvement in the 1993 bombings that killed 257 people in Mumbai, delivering the last verdicts for 123 defendants charged in India's worst terrorist attack.
The convictions brought to 100 the number of people convicted; 23 were acquitted. Sentences will be imposed early next year.
"This is a historic case. Never before in Indian history have 100 people been convicted in a single case," public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters.
Staff writer Dan Eggen and researcher Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.

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