FBI: Man Wanted To Start Terror Camp; Terror Suspect Sent To N.Y.; Denies Al Qaeda Connection
(WNBC) NEW YORK — Oussama Kassir, a Lebanese-born Swede, is accused of trying help set up a terror training camp in Oregon. Kassir was brought back under heavy guard in Manhattan federal court late Tuesday.
“The intent here was to establish a camp that would have very serious consequences for our national security,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia.
Kassir was indicted for allegedly trying to raise money in New York and scouting possible sites for a U.S.-based terror training camp. Investigators said Kassir is a follower of radical British cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri. Al Masri, who is in custody in Britain, has also been charged in New York on terror-related charges.
Another defendant James Ujaama has pleaded guilty to material support for terror charges and is now cooperating with authorities. Also facing charges in New York, Haroon Rashid Aswat who allegedly traveled with Kassir to Bly, Oregon. Aswat is currently behind bars in Britain.
Kassir’s name surfaced during the London bombings case although officials said they know of no direct link between Kassir and any of the bombing suspects.
Kassir was arrested in Prague in December 2005 on charges he and others conspired to establish a “jihad training camp” in Bly, Ore. The FBI alleges he wanted to find a place where U.S.-based Muslims could receive training to carry out attacks. Justice Department officials said targets for attacks were likely troops in Afghanistan.
They also said Kassir had discs showing how to make and use poisons.
At the time of Kassir’s arrest in 2005, Garcia said, “The arrest of Oussama Kassir in Prague demonstrates, once again, the firm resolve of the Department of Justice … to identify, arrest and prosecute those who engage in global terrorist activities.”
Investigators pointed out it took years to finally get Kassir back to the U.S.
“We will not stop pursuing any terror subjects until justice is served,” said George Venizelos of the FBI.
If convicted, Kassir faces up to life in prison.
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