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U.S. adds 17 finance suspects to block list

By Times Wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2003

WASHINGTON - The Treasury Department moved Friday to block the financial assets of Abdelghani Mzoudi, who is suspected of being a member of the al-Qaida cell in Germany that is believed to have planned the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Mzoudi is among the 17 new people - all foreigners - that the government added to its list of entities suspected of helping to bankroll Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network.

The action by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control means that U.S. banks must block any assets found in the United States that belong to these people.

Treasury said the 17 names have been forwarded to the United Nations, which keeps its own list of entities suspected of financing terrorist activities. It would be up to the United Nations to add the names to its list, which is followed by member countries.

Treasury said Germany was designating Mzoudi as a terrorist financier. Prosecutors in Berlin charged Mzoudi last month as an accessory in the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Reservist' bombers detained, Morocco says

RABAT, Morocco - Moroccan police rounded up 19 alleged Islamic militants in a new sweep of suspects in a string of deadly, near-simultaneous suicide bombings in Casablanca, a government prosecutor said Friday.

The roundup on Thursday raised to 50 the number of suspects detained in the investigation into the May 16 bombings, which targeted Jewish and Spanish sites in Morocco's largest city and killed 31 people along with 12 attackers.

The 19 suspects, aged 17 to 40 and all Moroccan, are suspected of belonging to a banned militant Islamic group and "complicity and attempts of assassination," state prosecutor Abdallah Alaoui Belghiti said.

Officials believe at least eight of the suspects arrested Thursday were considered to be "reservist" suicide bombers who were planning new attacks in several tourist towns and cities in Morocco, he said.

If convicted, the suspects could face the death penalty.

Also Friday, U.S. FBI director Robert Mueller arrived in the southern city of Agadir to meet with Moroccan King Mohammed VI as part of a swing through the region to discuss the fight against terrorism.

Dogs train for airport duty

WASHINGTON - Dogs trained to sniff out deadly chemicals are being added at some airports, seaports and other U.S. entry points to detect terrorists trying to smuggle chemicals in.

The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, which oversees roughly 300 entry points, began placing some of the dogs a couple of months ago, the bureau's commissioner, Robert Bonner, said in an interview Friday.

Bonner, for security reasons, would not disclose the locations or how many dogs are in training.

"We have some out there now, and we are training more ... to be deployed to our borders," Bonner said.

"We are moving them around," he said. "The main points of entry where people or goods and things come into the United States: that's where we have them, and that's where we need them."

The dogs, Bonner said, are trained to detect "signature odors" associated with deadly chemicals, including sarin gas, nerve gas and cyanide.

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