SAN FRANCISCO, May 5 -- The Immigration and Naturalization Service has deported a Saudi Arabian national to Jordan, where he has been convicted in absentia of bankrolling terrorist attacks on public theaters, officials confirmed Friday. Thomas J. Schiltgen, INS district director for Northern California, said Mohammed Jamal Khalifah was actually returned to Jordan on Wednesday, but the announcement was withheld for two days. Khalifah, 38, was arrested by INS agents Dec. 16, 1994 in the San Francisco Bay Area. He had entered the United States 15 days earlier on a valid visa, but that document was revoked when the FBI became aware of the Jordanian charges. He was subsequently convicted by a Jordanian judge in January and sentenced to life imprisonment. On April 26, an INS judge ordered Khalifah to be deported because 'his presence in the United States would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences.' In his defense, Khalifah asked to be deported to Jordan so he could defend himself against the terrorism charges. While there has been little official comment by the U.S. government about Khalifah, many believe he was a key figure in an effort to export Middle Eastern-style Islamic extremism to the Philippines. Philippine Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan said Khalifah was a suspected associate of six alleged Muslim extremists who were arrested April 1 in a Manila suburb. He was also suspected of being an associate of Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad, who were charged in New York City in early April of plotting to blow up United Airlines jets between Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Japan's Kyodo News Service reported that Khalifah had links with extremist groups in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, Malaysia, Romania, Pakistan and other nations. Khalifah is an in-law of billionaire Osama bi Laden, who bankrolled Arab volunteers to fight in Afghanistan during the 1980-89 war with the Soviets.