Mubarak: Trade Center Suspect Made ‘Sensational Confessions’
LONDON (AP) _ A suspect in the World Trade Center bombing revealed significant details about the blast before he was turned over to U.S. authorities, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview published Friday.
Mubarak said the suspect, Mahmud Abouhalima, made ″sensational confessions″ to Egyptian interrogators about ″how the operation was carried out and of those who carried it out.″
Asked whether Abouhalima implicated Muslim fundamentalists linked to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the fiery preacher of a New Jersey mosque, Mubarak told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper: ″It seems so. I don’t want to go further than that.″
Six people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured in the bombing at the World Trade Center in New York on Feb. 26.
Mubarak said he was ″not at liberty to disclose these confessions now because U.S. investigation into the bombing is still under way.″ Four other suspects are under arrest, including some who attended a Jersey City, N.J., mosque where Abdel-Rahman often preached.
The Lebanese-run Arabic language daily said Mubarak made the comments in London on Thursday on the eve of his talks with British Prime Minister John Major. He was scheduled to fly to Washington on Saturday to meet with President Clinton.
Mubarak denied that Egypt had turned Abouhalima over to the FBI in exchange for the extradition of Abdel-Rahman, whom Egypt has sought to prosecute on terrorism charges.
″Abouhalima himself asked to be sent back to the United States to prove his innocence,″ Mubarak said.
Although Abouhalima has Egyptian and German nationalities in addition to U.S. residence papers, Mubarak said Egyptian legal experts concluded he should be prosecuted in the United States because he, his German wife and four children are permanent residents there.