Nine of 11 Egyptian students in custody

Published August 13, 2006

WASHINGTON - Nine of 11 Egyptian exchange students who recently entered the United States and failed to appear at their college program were in custody Saturday after three were arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, officials said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents tracked the three students from New York to San Francisco to Des Moines. They were arrested late Friday without incident on administrative immigration violations.

They are Ahmed Refaat Saad El Moghazi El Laket, 19; Mohamed Ibrahim El Sayed El Moghazy, 20; and Moustafa Wagdy Moustafa El Gafary, 18.

Three other students had been found Thursday. None of the students is considered a terrorism risk.

The students were to attend a monthlong program at Montana State University in Bozeman. A group of 17 students arrived in New York on July 29. Six reported to Bozeman on time.

After Montana State repeatedly tried to contact the missing students, it notified Department of Homeland Security officials and registered the Egyptians as no-shows in a system to track foreign students developed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The last two Egyptian students were still being sought, officials said.