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Suspected al-Qaida Terrorists Await Trial in Great Britain

  • Victoria Cavaliere

The United States has charged three men with conducting surveillance in preparation for a possible terrorist attack on financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington DC. VOA'S Victoria Cavaliere reports the three are currently in custody in Britain.

Deputy Attorney General James Comey said all three are British nationals.

"The four-count indictment which was unsealed today names three British nationals. The indictment names Dhiren Barot, Nadeem Tarmohamed and Qaisar Shaffi. Those three men are charged with engaging in conspiracy to commit terrorist acts against the United States. The indictment specifically alleges the three men entered the United States in 2000 and 2001, and conducted surveillance of the International Monetary Fund headquarters and the World Bank headquarters here in Washington, the Prudential corporate plaza and world headquarters building in Newark, New Jersey and the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup Centers in New Your City," said Mr. Comey.

In August 2004, U.S. officials raised the terrorist threat level around those buildings -- citing credible evidence that al-Qaida linked terrorist could be plotting an attack.

Now, eight months later, U.S. officials are providing more details about the surveillance.

The indictment charges the three men with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to support terrorists, conspiracy to conceal support for terrorists and conspiracy to damage or destroy buildings used in foreign commerce.

Authorities say the three men left the United States after scouting the buildings. They were picked up by British authorities in August, 2004 during a raid on suspected terrorists, and the U.S. surveillance was found.

"The three of them are currently held in custody in the United Kingdom, as part of a separate terrorist investigation. The United States will seek their extradition after the conclusion of their prosecution in the UK.," said Mr. Comey.

President Bush told U.S. soldiers stationed in Fort Hood Texas, that taking the fight to terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere is also making the United States more secure.

"The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a crushing defeat to the forces of tyranny and terror, and a watershed event in the global democratic revolution. In the last two years you've accomplished much. But your work isn't done. Freedom still has dangerous adversaries. Terrorists still want to attack our people, but they are losing,” said President Bush.

The president visited Fort Hood exactly two years after Baghdad fell to U.S.-led forces. "The toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad will be recorded along with the fall of the Berlin Wall as one of the great moments in the history of liberty," said the president.

Mr. Bush said Iraq is making strides towards freedom and security--though violence there has not been eliminated.