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Testimony In Jordan Terror Trial

June 12, 2000

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ A defendant accused of planning terror attacks during millennium celebrations in Jordan testified Monday that ammunition and chemicals found in his house belonged to another suspect.

Osama Sammar, one of 28 Arabs accused of planning New Year’s attacks, said another defendant, Raed Hijazi, had told him that he had hidden personal equipment while Sammar was away from his rented house.

Sammar told the three-man tribunal that when he was away he sometimes allowed his relative, Hijazi, to stay in his home.

``The nitric and sulfuric acid found in my place also belonged to Hijazi, who told me that he used to sell the acid to jewelers, as it is a product used in manufacturing gold and not explosives,″ Sammar said.

Sixteen of the 28 accused are in custody. The remaining 12 _ including Hijazi _ are outside Jordan and are being tried in absentia.

The 28 are accused of planning to attack U.S. and Israeli tourists during New Year’s celebrations at Mount Nebo _ where tradition says Moses saw the Promised Land _ and a Christian settlement along the Jordan River said to be the site where Jesus was baptized.

All the defendants are suspected of links to Osama bin Laden, a Saudi-born millionaire wanted by the United States in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombings killed 244 people.

Suspect Mohammed Fayez, 18, told the court: ``Nobody asked me to attack American and Israeli interests and touristic sites in Jordan.″

Four of the five defendants who appeared Monday claimed their confessions were taken under torture and duress.

Sammar said he was beaten so harshly that a military doctor was brought in to treat him.

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