Terrorism: November 9, 2001


The investigation into the al Qaeda operatives who conducted the 11 September attacks continues. It is a slow process. FBI agents and other police agencies are trying to rebuild the lives of all 19 men. Where did they live, who did they talk to, what did they do? Credit cards have been a productive but time-eating avenue. If the FBI can determine that a given credit card was used by a terrorist or to buy something sent to a terrorist, every transaction by that card is checked, including every address where something bought by that card was mailed. A Visa card owned by Marwan Al-Shehhi bought flight training videos which were sent to Isam Mansour in Dubai (UAE). All transactions by both men are being checked. Jordan is holding a bin Laden operative known as "Shakir" who had a role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the attack on the USS Cole. He also attended a meeting in Malaysia which was attended by several other people, some of whom are known terrorists. Jordan won't allow the US to question Shakir, but is providing the results of its own interrogations. Britain has been a haven for terrorists, particularly from al Qaeda, for years, but US pressure has caused a crackdown. British police have arrested Yasser El-Sirri, a key bin Laden recruiter who had a role in the assassination of Northern Alliance general Massoud. El-Sirri has been condemned to death in Egypt, but Britain won't send him home as the convictions were in military courts. The US says that the senior al Qaeda agent in Europe is Abu Qatada, who lives in England. He is reportedly under surveillance. He is wanted for capital crimes in Jordan, but the Jordanians don't want him sent home as this might spark riots and terrorist attacks.--Stephen V Cole


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