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bin Laden Aide Linked to Plot

February 29, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ A top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden was the coordinator of a foiled terrorism plot aimed at Western and Israeli tourists in Jordan last December, The New York Times reported today.

Abu Zubaydah also was in contact with Algerians who have been charged with plotting a bomb attack on unspecified U.S. targets in December, the Times reported, citing unidentified American and Middle Eastern investigators.

The investigators said evidence about Zubaydah could help establish that bin Laden was plotting two simultaneous attacks against Western interests.

Bin Laden, a Saudi exile believed to be in Afghanistan, has declared a holy war against the United States to protest the presence of U.S. soldiers in his homeland.

He has been indicted by the United States for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

Zubaydah, described by investigators as a trusted member of bin Laden’s inner circle, reportedly directed the Jordan operation from Pakistan and fled to Afghanistan a day or two after Jordanian authorities uncovered the plan and made 13 arrests.

The group allegedly planned bombing attacks targeting U.S. and Israeli tourists visiting biblical sites in Jordan.

Investigators found that some of the people arrested in Jordan were trained at camps operated by bin Laden in Afghanistan. That same link has been made by Canadian authorities to Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian arrested in Washington state on Dec. 14 and later charged with plotting a bombing attack against the United States. In all, four Algerians face federal charges in that case.

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