- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Egyptian with radio passed security test

CAIRO An Egyptian arrested in New York on September 11 and charged with lying about an aviation radio found in his hotel room near the World Trade Center had worked for a U.S. government contractor in Cairo and passed a security review, an American official said yesterday.

Abdallah Higazy reportedly told the FBI he knew nothing of the radio found in his room, but later said it was his. Prosecutors said he acknowledged knowing how to operate the radio, which pilots would use to communicate with other planes and air-traffic controllers.

On Friday, a judge in New York ordered Mr. Higazy the son of an Egyptian diplomat and a former serviceman in the Egyptian air corps held without bail. But Judge Frank Maas, noting that a student-aid group had arranged Mr. Higazy's stay at the Millennium Hilton Hotel until he could find housing, said, "This may not be ultimately a terrorism case."

Saudi family sues U.S. over disappearance

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia A family that claims one of its members has been kidnapped by American intelligence in Pakistan is suing the U.S. government, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Relatives said they lost track of Abdullah al-Matrafi, director of the Wafa charity, on Dec. 10 after he called from the airport at Lahore, Pakistan, shortly before he was to board an Emirates flight to Jeddah via Dubai.

Wafa appeared in October on a Bush administration list of organizations suspected of funding terrorism, but its director denied the charge on Qatar's Al Jazeera television, Mr. al-Matrafi's brother Mohammad told the Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.

Saudi Embassy in Kabul to reopen

KABUL, Afghanistan The interim government announced yesterday that Saudi Arabia's embassy in Kabul would reopen soon.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah made the announcement a day after Pakistan re-established its embassy in the Afghan capital. Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan at one time were staunch supporters of the Taliban, ousted last month by U.S. air attacks.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, along with the United Arab Emirates, were the only three countries to recognize the radical Islamic Taliban regime after it seized Kabul in 1996.

Weekly notes

Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, 75, the emir of Kuwait, returned home yesterday to a joyous welcome after almost four months of treatment in London for a brain hemorrhage. Declared "fully recovered" by aides, he was lowered from the plane in an elevator and walked unassisted to greet government officials. Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri visited Bahrain Monday and yesterday to hasten a thaw between Baghdad and its Gulf Arab neighbors, a spokesman for the Manama government said. "We have detected [an Iraqi] willingness to cool matters between Iraq and member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council," said the Bahraini official.

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