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Virginia Man Linked to Hijacker

September 26, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Virginia man whose name and phone number were found in a car registered to one of the 19 suspected hijackers was ordered held without bond Wednesday. A prosecutor described him as an essential witness and ``he may be more.″

U.S. Magistrate Curtis Sewell ordered Mohamed Abdi of Alexandria held following a hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, a suburb of Washington.

When Abdi was arrested, FBI agent Kevin W. Ashby testified, he had a newspaper article about Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian who was convicted of conspiring to bomb the Los Angeles airport as part of a millennium terror plot. Ressam testified at a separate trial earlier this year that he spent six months training at terrorists camps in Afghanistan.

Abdi, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, works as a $22,000-a-year security guard, said Joseph Bowman, his lawyer. He did not say where Abdi is employed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Spencer said Abdi also has worked for an airline security company, but did not identify the company.

Spencer, who describe Abdi as an essential witness and possibly more, argued that he should be held without bond. ``The pressure on him to abscond will be incredible,″ he said.

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