A Saudi national led an Al Qaida cell
authorized to launch a series of massive attacks against the United States, U.S. officials said.
Adnan Shukrijumah, the Saudi operative, speaks
fluent English and has been living 15 years in the United States.
Shukrijumah was born in Saudi Arabia and was said to be carrying a Guyanese
passport, Middle East Newsline reported.
"He is a trained operative who poses an operational threat to the United
States," FBI director Robert Mueller said.
Officials said Shukrijumah had resided in southern Florida before he
fled U.S. authorities. He has been nicknamed "Jafar the pilot" and was
believed to have trained insurgents in a role similar to that of Mohammed
Atta, the architect of the September 2001 suicide attacks on New York and
Shukrijumah was said to be carrying passports from Canada, Saudi Arabia
and Trinidad. The FBI began searching for Shukrijumah in 2003 in wake of
information provided by Al Qaida operations chief Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
The family of Shukrijumah said he left Miami in May 2001 and denied any
links with Al Qaida. Instead, the family maintained that Shukrijumah has
resettled in Morocco.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia plans to announce new restrictions on the
state-operated Al Haramain charity, deemed as a financier of Al Qaida. The
Saudi embassy in Washington was scheduled to hold a news conference
regarding a "major development" that would designate at least four Al
Haramain affiliates as terrorist financiers.
"This announcement will be an important one," Saudi adviser Adel Al
Jubeir was quoted in a statement issued by the Saudi embassy. "We are not
only going after the terrorists, but also the money and the mindset that
support them or condone their actions, regardless of where they exist."
[In Riyad, Al Qaida insurgents fired toward U.S. military personnel as
their three-vehicle convoy left a U.S. military compound. Nobody was injured
and the insurgents escaped in Wednesday's attack.]
U.S. officials identified a Canadian national born in Tunisia as a
member of the suspected seven-member Al Qaida cell. They said Abderraouf
Jdey was selected to receive flight training as part of an effort to launch
a second suicide air strike in the United States.
The cell was also said to have comprised a U.S. citizen who converted to
Islam, identified as Adam Gadahn. Amer El-Maati, a Kuwaiti native, was
described as a Canadian citizen of Egyptian and Syrian origin who has a
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani were identified as
participants in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in east Africa in 1998.
Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national, was the only woman in the group and
was said to have attended colleges around Boston until 2003. The colleges
included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"They all are sought in connection with possible terrorist threats in
the United States," Attorney General John Ashcroft said.