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5 Arrested in US on Suspicion of Running al-Qaida Terrorist Cell

Five U.S. citizens are under arrest on suspicion of running an al-Qaida terrorist cell in the state of New York. The U.S. Justice Department says the men trained at al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan before last September's terrorist attacks.

U.S. officials say the suspects received weapons training at an al-Qaida camp outside the Afghan city of Kandahar last year.

They are charged with providing material support to terrorists and could receive up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Justice Department officials would not say what kind of support the men are charged with providing.

The five men of Yemeni descent were all born in America and lived near each other outside the city of Buffalo in western New York state.

Officials say they trained at the same camp as John Walker Lindh, the American convicted of fighting alongside the Taleban. At the camp, U.S. officials say, the suspects were visited by Osama bin Laden who gave a speech condemning America and Israel.

FBI Director Robert Mueller says there is no evidence that the men were preparing to launch a terrorist attack.

"To date, we have not seen any plans of an imminent attack whether it be western New York or elsewhere in the United States," he said.

Director Mueller says he is also pleased by the arrest of Ramzi Binalshibh who was picked up by Pakistani and U.S. intelligence agents Friday following a gunfight in the southern Pakistani City of Karachi.

"We believe that he was a significant planner in the September 11 attacks," Mr. Mueller said. " We believe he had financial and other connections to Mohamed Atta who was one of the 19 hijackers, and I don't think I would comment beyond that."

Mr. Binalshibh applied four times for a visa to enter the United States between May and October of 2000. The FBI believes he was intended to be the 20th hijacker on September 11. When he was refused entry, U.S. officials say Mr. Binalshibh gave financial support to those who carried out the attack.

Director Mueller says investigations into the New York al-Qaida cell are continuing. Officials there thanked the area's Muslim community for its cooperation in the arrests.

New York Governor George Pataki says local, state and federal authorities are doing everything they can to prevent another attack.

"I don't think there is anybody in America who can stand here and say with absolute certainty that there will not be another attack," the governor said. "But I think you can be very confident that everything that can be done pro-actively to try to get after those who might be among us before they can launch another attack is being done and it is being done in western New York and I believe across the country."

At Camp David Saturday, President Bush said U.S. officials are hunting down the killers one by one and are not going to stop.