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Author Alleges Blood Diamond Link To Al Qaeda Suspect - 2004-08-05

Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian and the senior Al Qaeda operative arrested in Pakistan last week, allegedly was involved in the blood diamond trade between Sierra Leone and Liberia. He?s also been implicated in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

In Washington, reporter Cindy Shiner spoke with Doug Farah, author of ?Blood from Stones: the Secret Financial Network of Terror.? She asked him about Mr. Ghailani?s connection with the West African diamond trade. Mr. Farah said Mr. Ghailani was in Liberia between 2000 and 2001 and traveled to the diamond areas of Sierra Leone. Mr. Farah said US officials were aware of the presence of Mr. Ghailani and three other Al Qaida suspects at a base in Liberia near former President Charles Taylor?s home.

?The Information was good enough so that they stood up a special forces team from neighboring Guinea, where they were doing some training near Conakry to come in and snatch the terrorists,? Mr. Farah said. He said the mission was not carried out because there was little on-the-ground support in Liberia for its successful completion.

Among Mr. Ghailani?s alleged associates in Liberia was Fazul Abdullah Mohamed, who was also implicated in the embassy bombings, as well as the bombing of a tourist hotel and an attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner in Mombassa in 2002.

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