U.S. identifies 5th man seen in `suicide videos'

Ashcroft repeats request for help finding suspects

January 26, 2002|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - Attorney General John Ashcroft identified a mystery man yesterday who had made a videotaped "martyrdom message" found in Afghanistan as a Tunisia-born Canadian citizen from Montreal.

The man, whom authorities identified as 36-year-old Al Rauf Bin Al Habib Bin Yousef Al-Jiddi, was one of five suspected al-Qaida terrorists who appeared in what Ashcroft called "suicide videos" that were released last week. The videos were found in the ruins of the Afghan home of Mohammed Atef, one of Osama bin Laden's chief military lieutenants. Atef was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

Yesterday, Ashcroft again called on people worldwide to help find Al-Jiddi and the four other men: Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani, Abd Al-Rahim, Muhammad Said Ali Hasan and Ramzi Binalshibh.

"Individuals who make suicide videos and write suicide letters are dangerous individuals," Ashcroft said. "They're individuals who have expressed their intention to hurt other people and to extinguish themselves in the process."

A Justice Department official said last night that Al-Jiddi, who has six known aliases, arrived in Canada in April 1991. He obtained Canadian citizenship in 1995 and was issued a passport under the name Abderraouf Jdey in 1999.

His last known address, the official said, was an apartment in Montreal, Quebec, but he is not believed to have been in Canada in at least several months.

Officials had been unable to identify Al-Jiddi until they matched his picture to a photograph found attached to a suicide letter in the rubble. It is unclear when military forces found the letter.

In the letter, dated August 1999, Al-Jiddi talks about being a martyr but does not detail plans or methods, a Justice Department official said. Al-Jiddi refers in the letter to his Canadian citizenship.

Ashcroft also released a photograph of Faker Boussora, 37, who, like Al-Jiddi, is a Tunisia-born Canadian. Authorities believe that Boussora is an associate of Al-Jiddi and that he could be an al-Qaida member. No suicide note from Boussora or video of him has been found. Ashcroft said the two men might be traveling together.

According to law enforcement officials, Boussora's passport was issued in October.

Ashcroft said hundreds of tips have been received from people worldwide offering information about the men on tape who delivered what he called "martyrdom messages."

The videos, three of which were released last week without sound, show the men talking animatedly or staring down. The video of Al-Juhani shows him putting his mouth up to his rifle as if to kiss it.

Binalshibh, whose video was not shown, was an associate of Mohammed Atta, the suspected lead hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks. He tried and failed three times to enter the United States, officials say, and served from abroad as a financier and manager of the hijackers.

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