- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2002

The al Qaeda-trained terrorist identified last week as one of five suicide martyrs who sparked a global alert for their capture has ties to a terrorist cell involved in a failed plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, federal authorities said.
Al Rauf bin al Habib bin Yousef al-Jiddi, 36, a Canadian citizen born in Tunisia, was the last of the suicide terrorists named by U.S. authorities identified with the help of Canadian officials through the discovery of a suicide letter found in the bombed-out Afghanistan residence of Muhammad Atef, a key aide to Osama bin Laden.
Authorities said al-Jiddi has ties to an international terrorist group headed by Fateh Kamel, 41, who was convicted in April of terrorist activities in France after prosecutors linked him to cells in Canada, France, Bosnia, Italy and Istanbul. Kamel is also linked to a key group member, Ahmed Ressam, a 34-year-old Algerian captured after explosives were found in his car at the U.S.-Canada border.
Authorities said the so-called Fateh Kamel cell, based in Montreal, was made up mostly of former Algerian nationals. The group, they said, supplied phony passports from its base in Montreal to European-based terrorists, including Islamic militants involved in a plot to kill the president of Turkey in the late 1990s.
Kamel and Ressam were linked by French prosecutors, who said Ressam obtained a passport in the name of Benni Noris before trying to cross into the United States from Canada his car filled with 1,000 pounds of explosives to be used in the attack at the Los Angeles airport. U.S. officials said the Montreal cell was also considering bombing the Space Needle in Seattle as well as Disneyland in the Los Angeles area in late December 1999.
Ressam, who is also believed to have ties to bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network and the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, was sentenced in absentia to five years in a French jail for being a member of Kamel's group. Kamel, who holds Algerian and Canadian passports, was sentenced to eight years in jail. He was extradited to France from Jordan in March 2000 after he left Montreal.
Sentenced in a U.S. court to 130 years in prison, Ressam is believed to have trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan including camps operated by bin Laden in the early 1990s prior to his arrival in Canada in 1994.
He was convicted on charges of making false statements to U.S. Customs Service officers, smuggling nitroglycerin across the border, transporting explosives and committing a felony while carrying explosives. His suspected ties to terrorist organizations, including those run by bin Laden, had been a key priority for authorities looking into possible terrorist threats during the millenium celebrations.
Identifying al-Jiddi during a press conference last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft said the Justice Department had also identified a sixth man, Faker Boussora, 37, also a Canadian citizen born in Tunisia, who might be traveling with al-Jiddi.
Mr. Ashcroft said al-Jiddi was identified "through discovery of a suicide letter" in Atef's house, which was destroyed during U.S. bombing raids, while Boussora's name "came in overnight from overseas" to U.S. intelligence and was relayed to the Justice Department. Atef is believed to have been killed in the attacks.
In the letter, dated August 1999, al-Jiddi reportedly pledged to give his life in the battle against infidels.
A Justice Department official said al-Jiddi arrived in Canada in April 1991 and obtained his Canadian Citizenship in October 1995. His Canadian passport was issued in April 1999 in Montreal, and the name on the passport is Abderraouf Jdey. It expires in April 2004. His last known address is Montreal, the official said.
The four suspected suicide terrorists identified last week were Ramzi Binalshibh, Abd Al-Rahim, Muhammad Sa'id Ali Hasan and Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani.
Binalshibh, a Yemeni citizen, was an associate of the September 11 suicide hijacker Mohamed Atta. In an indictment handed down in December against Zacarias Moussaoui, awaiting trial for conspiracy in the September 11 attacks, Binalshibh was named along with Atta and the 18 other hijackers as an unindicted co-conspirator.
The Moussaoui indictment describes Binalshibh as a member of an al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany. It said he made several unsuccessful attempts to obtain a visa to enter the United States before the September 11 attacks.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide