- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2003

U.S. holding 19 al Qaeda suspects

U.S. forces in Iraq are holding 19 suspected members of the al Qaeda terrorist network, the American civilian administrator said yesterday.

The suspects are among 248 non-Iraqi fighters being held by the Americans in Iraq, the country’s administrator, L. Paul Bremer, said at a Pentagon news conference.

Mr. Bremer said authorities determined the suspects’ al Qaeda links through interrogations and documents the suspects were carrying. He did not know their countries of origin.



The largest number of foreign fighters — 123 of the 248 — came from Syria, Mr. Bremer said. The next-highest numbers came from Iran and Yemen.

Taliban supporter pleads guilty

A member of the “Portland Seven” terrorist group pleaded guilty yesterday to federal money-laundering charges and has agreed to cooperate in the government’s ongoing terrorism investigations.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said October Martinique Lewis, ex-wife of co-defendant Jeffrey Leon Battle, pleaded guilty to six counts of money laundering. She admitted that she transferred cash from the United States to a place outside the country to assist Mr. Battle in willfully supplying services to the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Davis challenges Arnold to debate

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Gov. Gray Davis challenged Arnold Schwarzenegger to a debate “right here, right now,” accusing the actor yesterday of distorting his record. Schwarzenegger declined.

Mr. Davis’ challenge was the most direct confrontation the governor has made during the campaign leading up to the Oct. 7 recall election and came as Mr. Schwarzenegger won the backing of another conservative Republican politician.

Mr. Schwarzenegger picked up the support yesterday of the Republican congressman who bankrolled the recall effort.

From staff reports and wire service dispatches

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