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Newspaper: ‘Liberation Army’ Mentioned in Bomb Suspect’s Writings

March 30, 1993

NEW YORK (AP) _ The phrase used as a signature on a letter sent to a newspaper after the World Trade Center bombing shows up in computer evidence seized from one of the suspects, according to a published report today.

The signature, Liberation Army Fifth Battalion, shows up in computer writings of Nidal Ayyad, New York Newsday reported today. The writings were taken from his home and office, the paper said.

″There are some direct matches. The evidence is very, very convincing,″ New York Newsday quoted an unidentified investigator as saying.

On Monday, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the letter would be used to prosecute the five suspects in custody. He also said several other letters and notes had been received.

The letter was received by The New York Times four days after the Feb. 26 blast that killed six and injured more than 1,000. It indicated the bombing was carried out to protest U.S. ties to Israel. Authorities who study terrorism have said they have not heard of a ″Liberation Army Fifth Battalion.″

Kelly made his comments Monday after testifying at a state Senate hearing on the bombing.

The Times has quoted investigators as saying the letter was written by one of those now under arrest.

Kelly said the letter ″will be some evidence in the prosecution of the individuals who are in custody.″ The motive for the bombing was still unknown, he said.

The Times quoted investigators as saying the letter was written by one of those already under arrest.

Kelly said the letter was among a number of other ″disjointed″ letters and notes that were received concerning the blast.

Four people have been charged in the bombing: Ayyad, 25, a chemical engineer; Mahmud Abohalima, 33; Mohammed Salameh, 25; and Bilal Alkaisi, 27. A fifth man, Ibrahim Elgabrowny, 42, was arrested for allegedly interfering with federal agents who searched his apartment in connection with the bombing investigation.

One of Elgabrowny’s attorneys, Ron Kuby, said Monday that law enforcement officials had seized a typewriter and computer disks from his apartment after he was arrested.

Investigators would not say if they found any connection between Elgabrowny’s confiscated items and the letter.

Kuby said Elgabrowny knew nothing of the letter and had never heard of the Liberation Army Fifth Battalion.

At Monday’s hearing, James Fox, assistant director of the FBI, declined to comment on the letter.

″We still don’t have any concrete evidence on which we could base the conclusion any particular group is responsible for the bombing,″ he said.

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