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UPI Focus: Feds charge 3rd man in embassy bombings

By MICHAEL McAULIFF

NEW YORK, Sept. 17 -- Federal prosecutors in New York have unsealed a criminal complaint charging a third man suspected in the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa last month. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White says Haroun Fazil plotted and helped carry out the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 12 Americans who were among the 258 people killed in both blasts. White said that Fazil, of the Camoros Islands on the east coast of Africa, was charged last month, but the indictment was sealed for strategic reasons. She said authorities had hoped to apprehend him but were unable to and have now posted a $2 million reward for his capture. The other two men charged in the attacks, Mohamed Sadeek Odeh and Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-'Owhali, are in federal custody in Manhattan. White says all three are members of the Al Qaeda terror network organized by the mysterious Saudi millionaire expatriate Osama bin Laden. White described Al Qaeda as 'an international terrorist organization...with objectives to kill members of the U.S. military stationed in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere and, more broadly, to kill U.S. civilians worldwide.' She said Fazil is an explosives expert who attended a training camp in Afghanistan in 1994 and provided military training to Islamic forces in Somalia. She described him as an active member of Al Qaeda's Kenyan cell. White called Fazil's role in the Kenya bombing 'very significant,' charging that he rented a villa in Nairobi in May where, according to testimony from an alleged co-conspirator, the bomb used in the attack was constructed.

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White said, 'Large quantities of gray powder were found in the villa after the bombing and are being tested by the FBI lab for the presence of explosives.' Fazil allegedly cased the Nairobi embassy before the bombing, then met with other members of the Kenyan cell, including another explosives expert, in Nairobi's Hilltop Hotel. On Aug. 7, he allegedly drove a pickup truck leading a car carrying the bomb to the embassy. Lewis Schiliro, head of the FBI's New York division, said the complaints against Fazil and the two men in custody were the result of a massive effort by his agents, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the New York City police, the U.S. State Department and the governments of Tanzania and Kenya. Officials also announced the arrest in New York of a U.S. citizen named Wadih El Hage ('HAHJ'), of Arlington, Texas, who White described as a 'one-time personal secretary to Osama bin Laden.' White said Hage 'was charged with three counts of making material false statements to the FBI regarding his knowledge of a former military commander of bin Laden and Mohamed Sadeek Odeh.' She did not say where he had been taken into custody, or how long ago. White and Schiliro vowed to carry on the investigation until all the participants in the bombings are apprehended. White said, 'The investigation...will continue until every person identified who was involved is captured and held accountable for their horrific and cowardly crimes.' ---

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Copyright 1998 by United Press International. All rights reserved. ---

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