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Bush: We will find Hussein, bin Laden

By Times Wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 25, 2003

CAMP DAVID, Md. - It's only a matter of time before Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are captured or accounted for, President Bush said Tuesday as he announced $3-billion in military and economic aid to reward Pakistan for its help in the war on terror.

Missing from the package were 28 F-16 jet fighters long sought by Pakistan but blocked by Congress because of Islamabad's nuclear weapons program.

At a joint news conference at the president's Maryland retreat, Bush and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf claimed a united front against terrorism.

Musharraf said his government was making extraordinary efforts to track down bin Laden and his lieutenants, searching treacherous tribal border areas he said had not been entered by the army in over a century.

He suggested that bin Laden could well be hiding in such an area along the border with Afghanistan. But, he told a reporter, "Whether Osama bin Laden is here or across the border, your guess, sir, would be as good as mine, so I wouldn't like to venture into a guess."

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Musharraf's government has arrested more than 500 al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists, Bush noted. Asked about the fact that the fates of bin Laden and Hussein remain unknown, Bush said, "There's more than two principals at large. . . . There are others around, too. And we're just on the hunt."

Bush said it could take days, months or years before the search for terrorist leaders is complete. "And we'll find them. It's only a matter of time," he said.

Judge releases transcripts in Sept. 11 fake IDs case

PATERSON, N.J. - Secret evidence presented in a closed court session alleged that a man who sold fake IDs to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers had closer ties to terrorism than previously revealed, according to transcripts released Tuesday.

The transcripts indicate investigators from the Passaic County Sheriff's Department and the prosecutor's office believed Mohamad El-Atriss was a serious danger to the community and should be held on a higher bail.

Among the allegations made in the secret sessions was that El-Atriss, 46, was part owner of a business with ties to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and that his partner was classified by the FBI as a terrorist.

El-Atriss and his lawyer disputed any inference that he had ties to terrorism, and U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said El-Atriss "is not considered a threat to national security by us."

In the secret sessions, Detective Sgt. Fred Ernst testified that the location of the business, Sphinx Trading Co., was where Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman received his mail. The blind Egyptian cleric is serving a life sentence for plotting to blow up the United Nations and other New York City landmarks.

Elsewhere . . .

KENYA CHARGES: A Kenyan court charged four men with 13 counts of murder for a terrorist attack that killed at least 10 Kenyans and three Israeli tourists in November. The four Kenyans charged in a chief magistrate's court were not asked to enter a plea because some prosecution documents were not prepared. The four were remanded in custody and will appear before the magistrate's court again on July 8.

IRANIAN DETAINEES: Iran will turn over to Saudi Arabia a number of Saudi members of the al-Qaida terror network who are in Iranian prisons, a senior Iranian official said. The announcement was the first confirmation by Iran that some of the al-Qaida members it is holding are Saudis. The handover has been sought for weeks by Saudi Arabia, which launched a crackdown on al-Qaida after the May 12 suicide bombings in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh.

MALAWI: A court in the southern African nation of Malawi blocked the government from deporting five foreigners arrested with help from the CIA on suspicion of helping funnel money to al-Qaida. High Court Judge Healy Potani said the government must charge or release them, opening the possibility the men could be freed at a hearing today.

ABU SAYYAF ARREST: Authorities have arrested Samir Hakim, a suspected Abu Sayyaf rebel who allegedly helped kidnap 20 people, including three Americans, three years ago, the military said. Hakim, 43, was among the original members of Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group with alleged ties to al-Qaida.

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