- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

2:42 p.m.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, who is wanted in the Philippines for suspected terror financing, was killed in Madagascar in what appeared to be a burglary, the victim’s brother said today.

Jamal Khalifa, who was married to a sister of the al Qaeda leader, was killed when gunmen broke into his house in a Madagascan village yesterday, his brother Malek Khalifa said in a phone interview from his home in Jidda, Saudi Arabia.

Malek Khalifa, who was distraught when recounting his brother’s death, said 25 to 30 armed men broke into Jamal’s house “while he was sleeping” and killed him. “They stole everything — his computer, all of his things,” Malek said.

Mr. Khalifa said he did not have more details because his brother was a Saudi citizen and Saudi Arabia does not have an embassy on the East African island.

He said Jamal was in Madagascar on business and that his wife and family were in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, Malek Khalifa was quoted by the Al Arabiya satellite TV channel as saying that Jamal mined and traded precious stones in Madagascar.

The Philippine government sought Jamal for purportedly financing Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group, through a charity organization in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Jamal reportedly denied this, most recently in a letter that was published Saturday in the Philippine newspaper Daily Inquirer. “I have never given any money to any person or group, and certainly not to the Abu Sayyaf,” the letter says.

The United States named Jamal as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York and arrested him the following year on a visa violation in San Francisco, but he was deported without standing trial.

In his letter to the Daily Inquirer, Jamal said he had a “disagreement” with bin Laden and left Afghanistan in 1986, “and we have been apart from each other since then.”

Bin Laden, the most wanted terrorist in the world, is believed to be hiding in the Afghan-Pakistani border region.

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