Israel deports Palestinian-American aid worker for Al-Qaida links (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel and Baruch Kra 12/05/02)
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Israel has deported a Palestinian man with an American passport for
alleged Al-Qaida connections. The U.S. Embassy, however, said it
was "not aware" of any evidence linking him to the terror group.
According to embassy spokesman Paul Patin, the suspect, Khaled Nazem
Diab, 34, works for the Qatari Red Crescent and "came here under
their auspices." He said embassy officials tried to see him during
his detention, but "we were denied access."
Israeli sources said he revealed he was a member of Islamic charity
organizations that funneled money to the Palestinian Authority.
Diab arrived in Israel on November 14 from Qatar and was arrested on
arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport. According to Farek Hussein, director
for the Palestinian Red Crescent, Diab came here on behalf of the
Qatari Red Crescent and the University of Missouri Trauma Center to
train Palestinian social workers.
From the airport, Diab was taken to the Shin Bet security services
and the Israel Police´s international investigations unit. During his
interrogation, which lasted several days and was carried out with FBI
cooperation, he revealed he was a member of Islamic charity
organizations which often serve as a front for funneling monies to
Diab had worked at an American charity group called Al-Najda, that
was closed after the September 11 bombings on charges of transferring
funds to terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida. The head of Al-
Najda, Rabih Hadad, was recently arrested in the U.S., also on
suspicion of transferring money to Osama bin Laden´s group.
Diab had spent time in Afghanistan and had associated with sources
affiliated with the Taliban. He is also known to have been in contact
with activists and institutions affiliated with Hamas.
Nevertheless, the interrogators had difficulty extracting information
from Diab and, acting on legal advice, Israel deported him after a
week to Jordan. The story was released for publication yesterday.
Over the past few weeks, security and legal officials have stepped up
their efforts to prevent the flow of cash to terrorist organizations
in the territories. Last week, the Justice Ministry completed the
procedures for legislation that will help prevent the phenomenon.
Security sources told Ha´aretz that Israel lags far behind the U.S.
in this respect and they believe millions of dollars are still
pouring into terrorists´ hands, even via Israeli banks.
In the past, attempts have been made to smuggle an Al-Qaida operative
into Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Two and a half years ago,
Al-Qaida activist Nabil Okal was arrested at the Rafah border
crossing. The so-called "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, who tried to
detonate explosives hidden in his shoes on a flight from Paris to
Miami, also said he had earlier visited Israel to gather information
Chief of Staff Moshe Ya´alon said this week that Al-Qaida is handing
out directives to Palestinian terrorists in the territories.
(© Copyright 2002 Ha´aretz 12/05/02)
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