- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

GREENACRES, Fla., Jan. 23 (UPI) — A search of the former Palm Beach County, Fla., home of a Saudi Arabian family was intended to determine if some of the funding of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks came through there, a published report said Thursday.

The report said the FBI was looking for links to religious charities that investigators say have been known to subsidize terrorism.

"We're looking to see if there is any connection, financial or otherwise, to any terrorist organization, including the 9/11 hijackers, but it is all very preliminary," a federal investigator told The Miami Herald.

FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela would not comment on the report Friday. She said the two-day search of the property had been completed, but she could only say the search warrant information had been sealed.

At least one computer was taken from the property, along with several boxes and bags with undisclosed contents. An automobile also was taken from the garage.

One of the things agents are looking for is information on who provided the money to buy the house for Mohamad Almasri, his wife and an uncertain number of children, sources told The Herald.

One of the children was Turki Ma Almasri, 22, who was enrolled at a flight school in Palm Beach County during the year and a half the family spent in Florida.

Neighbors have said the family was from Saudi Arabia, but the Saudi Embassy in Washington said the United States had not asked for any information. A spokesman said officials knew nothing about the family.

Neighbors said the family was friendly, and left in such a hurry the week of the attacks they left food on the table.

"We were wondering why they were rushing. It was so not in keeping with their normal behavior. These people are very pristine and proper," said Kristin Daddio, who watched some family members leave two days before the attack.

Almasri, 57, and his son, Turki, left three days after the attack.

Neighbors also questioned why the FBI took 16 months before searching the home.

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