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Sixth Man Charged in US Terror Cell - 2002-09-16


U.S. authorities have charged a sixth suspect with being a member of an al-Qaida terror cell in Buffalo, New York. The Yemeni-born American citizen was arrested in Bahrain last week. All six of those charged are Yemeni-Americans who lived in the Buffalo area.

Mukhtar al-Bakri, 22, is the sixth Yemeni-American to be charged with providing material support to the al-Qaida terrorist network. He was arraigned in federal court in Buffalo Monday, after being flown back to the United States under federal escort.

Like the five others arrested before him, Mr. al-Bakri lived in the Buffalo area. His brother tells reporters he was arrested after he returned to Bahrain to get married but FBI special agent Peter Ahearn would not confirm where the arrest took place.

"He did not resist any arrest at all. He's been cooperative," said Mr. Ahearn. We've been working with his family and that's all I'll say on that."

But diplomatic sources say the American was arrested in Bahrain and then handed over to U.S. custody. A judge has already entered a not guilty plea on behalf of five of his alleged co-conspirators ahead of a detention hearing set for Wednesday.

These arrests are believed to be the first time since the terrorist attacks a year ago that a group of Americans, living in the United States, has been directly linked to al-Qaida, although prosecutors say they have no evidence that they were actively planning a new attack. But federal officials say the arrests were one reason why the White House last week placed the country on its highest state of alert since last year's attacks.

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