U.S. indicts 2 on terror-related charges

Recruiting, financing, link to Padilla alleged

September 17, 2004|By Emma Schwartz | Emma Schwartz,LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced the indictment yesterday of two men on charges of helping to recruit and financially support terrorists, including an unidentified U.S. citizen believed to be "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla.

A federal grand jury in Miami charged Adham Amin Hassoun and Mohamed Hesham Youssef, who are in custody on other charges, with raising money to wage an Islamic holy war in places such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kosovo, starting in the mid-1990s.

Hassoun also goes by the name "Abu Sayyaf," and Youssef is sometimes known as "Abu Turab," the government said.

The indictment alleges that Hassoun, a Palestinian national living in Florida, wrote checks between 1994 and 2001 totaling more than $53,000 to unindicted co-conspirators and organizations, including the Holy Land Foundation, which the U.S. government accuses of having ties to terrorist groups.

The Holy Land Foundation and seven of its leaders were indicted in July on charges of providing material support to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Hassoun, a computer scientist who came to the United States in the 1980s to study, already had been charged with lying to immigration officials about his recruiting activities and illegal possession of a firearm. He is in custody in Florida. Youssef is serving a sentence in Egypt for "other terrorist activities," the U.S. government said.

The Associated Press said two unidentified law enforcement officials confirmed the Padilla connection.

Padilla, a Chicago native, was captured at O'Hare International Airport in May 2002 as an "enemy combatant" in the war on terror, and has been held without charges ever since.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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