- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 22, 2002

A federal grand jury in New York yesterday indicted six men on charges of supporting terrorism by training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden personally declared his intention to "fight against Americans."
U.S. Attorney Michael A. Battle said the men, all U.S. citizens of Yemeni descent, were named in a two-count indictment handed up in U.S. District Court in Buffalo, accusing them of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
An arraignment is scheduled for today.
Five of the men were arrested on a criminal complaint in their hometown, the Buffalo suburb of Lackawanna, N.Y., on Sept. 13, while a sixth was taken into custody three days later in Bahrain. They face up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 fines if convicted under a 1996 law prohibiting any gift of money, weapons or other support to terrorist organizations.
Mukhtar Al-Bakri, 22, was apprehended in the Gulf Emirate of Bahrain following the arrest of the other five men. A naturalized citizen who came to the United States to live with his brother as a teenager, he is a graduate of Lackawanna High School, where he was a co-captain of the soccer team.
The others are Sahim Alwan, 29: Faysal Galeb, 26; Shafai Mosed, 24; Yahya Goba, 25; and Yasein Taher, 24:
All six, through their attorneys, have denied any wrongdoing. Four have told prosecutors they have never been to Afghanistan or to any terrorist training camp. Alwan is free on $600,000 bond. The others have remained in custody.
Prosecutors have said the six men were awaiting orders from al Qaeda to carry out an unspecified attack on the United States. They said the men traveled to Pakistan last year to undergo two months of religious training but instead attended a military camp near Kandahar, where they were trained in the use of weapons and explosives.
The government believes the men attended the Al Farooq training camp just months before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and were told by bin Laden "in unequivocal terms that there 'is going to be a fight against Americans.'"
U.S. Magistrate H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. ruled Oct. 8 that Mr. Alwan had removed himself from the camp and successfully distanced himself from its activities after just 10 days by pretending to have sustained an ankle injury.
But, he said, prosecutors had established that there was "clear and convincing" evidence that the five others had attended the camp for up to six weeks and had listened to bin Laden's message.
The judge ruled the men "a danger to the community" and a flight risk.
Prosecutors had asked the judge to deny bail, noting that Mr. al-Bakri sent an e-mail while he was in Bahrain in July in which he wrote about "a big meal," adding that "no one will be able to withstand it except those with faith."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Hochul told reporters Mr. al-Bakri admitted that "big meal" referred to a large explosion being planned by al Qaeda against the United States.
Mr. Hochul has declined to elaborate on the details of any potential attack. The e-mail was sent to an unidentified person in the Buffalo area, who has not been charged in the case.
Prosecutors also gave the judge a statement given to the FBI by Mr. Alwan, in which he said that while in Afghanistan, he and some of the other suspects listened to a bin Laden speech in which he urged them to "train and fight for the cause of Islam."
The indictment was the culmination of an investigation by the FBI through its Joint Terrorism Task Force.

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