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Siddig Ali: Trade Center Bomber ‘Stupidest Terrorist in the World’

LARRY NEUMEISTERMarch 15, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ A man who admitted helping plot terrorist attacks in the United States said one of the World Trade Center bombers bungled the job by renting a van in his own name, court transcripts showed Tuesday.

``They’re all stupid, of course, but he’s the stupidest one of them all because he is the one who screwed up the whole thing,″ Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali said of Mohammad Salameh.

Siddig Ali dished out his criticism three months after the Feb. 26, 1993, bombing, unaware that he was being taped by Emad Salem, a government informant. The taped conversations later led to Siddig Ali’s arrest.

Salameh and three others were convicted last year in the attack that killed six people and injured more than 1,000. They were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The transcript was read aloud Tuesday by prosecutors in federal court.

Siddig Ali pleaded guilty last month as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors in the trial of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and 10 other men accused of conspiring to blow up five New York City landmarks, assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and kill or kidnap others.

Prosecutors say the attacks were meant to punish the United States for its policies in the Middle East.

In the transcript, Siddig Ali told Salem that Salameh fouled up the trade center plan by renting a van in his own name. Salameh was arrested days after the bombing when he claimed the van was lost and asked the rental company for his $400 deposit.

Siddig Ali said Salameh’s actions would likely cause Americans to call him ``the stupidest terrorist in the world.″

``He is the stupidest, the stupidest, the stupidest of God’s creatures!″ he said.

He said he thought the group believed that when the van exploded, there would be no evidence, ``that the car itself would be completely burnt, and could not be traced.″

Investigators found a serial number of the van on a part in the rubble two days after the blast and traced it back to the Jersey City, N.J., company which had rented the van to Salameh.

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