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Tenn. Homes Raided by Terror Agents

November 1, 2002

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Agents with a terrorism task force raided the homes of at least two Iraqi immigrants Thursday, and authorities said other searches were being conducted in the city.

No immediate arrests were made, but FBI, Customs and IRS agents spent about three hours at the home of Fadhil Abbas Al-Sahaf, 34. They were seen leaving with boxes, plastic bags, papers, envelopes, FedEx packages and videotapes. A travel trailer in the back yard also was searched.

Agents also searched an apartment less than two miles away rented by Mahdi Al-Tamimi, his wife and young son. Bank documents, IRS forms and other papers were removed.

Douglas Riggin, an FBI agent in charge of the task force, said the moves were not connected to ``any terrorist act which might pose a threat to the city.″ As for whether the raid was related to terrorist threats elsewhere, he said: ``The task force investigated it. Draw your own conclusions.″

Al-Sahaf, reached by telephone after the raid, said he was not sure why the house was searched, but ``I think it is because I sent money to my family.″ He said he is an Iraqi native who moved to the United States in 1994.

He said he has not been questioned by any agency. He said he was not at home when agents came because he was undergoing knee surgery. His wife was home, but Al-Sahaf said she does not speak much English.

Al-Tamimi, an Iraqi-born U.S. citizen who sought political asylum in 1994, said that when agents searched his home they asked him about sending money to his family in Iraq. He declined to comment further.

Riggin would not say where the other Nashville searches took place.

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