Salameh had key role, probers say Conspiracy theory emerges in the New York bombing

March 09, 1993|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- Federal and local investigators now believe that Mohammed Salameh, the suspect arrested last week in the bombing of the World Trade Center, played a significant, if not central, role in what they say is a conspiracy.

For the first time, criminal-justice officials also established a direct personal link between Mr. Salameh and El Sayyid Nosair, the man convicted in connection with the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane. They said Mr. Salameh visited Nosair at least once in Attica prison.

Several new details buttressing the conspiracy theory emerged yesterday as authorities pursued a dizzying array of clues from Jersey City to Brooklyn to the Mideast.

The authorities also said yesterday that a relative of Nosair, Ibraham Elgabrowny, 42, of Brooklyn, N.Y., had emerged as a major suspect in the bombing because of his ties to Mr. Salameh and to Nosair, who is serving time on charges in the Kahane case.

It also was confirmed that Mr. Elgabrowny is a leading official of a Brooklyn mosque frequented by Omar Abdel-Rahman, a fundamentalist Muslim cleric. Through his lawyer, Mr. Abdel-Rahman yesterday strongly denied any involvement in the bombing.

Engineers were close to shoring up wreckage with steel beams so that bomb experts could finally penetrate to the seat of the Feb. 26 blast in the World Trade Center underground garage. The blast killed five people.

Laboratory analyses of the rubble late yesterday found a possible match between the type of chemicals found in New Jersey storage area rented by Mr. Salameh and the bomb, investigators said.

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