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Feds arrest second man for ties to suspected terrorist-linked g

Sunday, March 16, 2003

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A second man with ties to the University of Idaho has been arrested in a widening investigation of a suspected terrorist-related group in the Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Wash., area, an FBI source confirms.

Two other men who also have ties to the area and the Michigan-based Islamic Assembly of North America have been implicated in the investigation but not arrested.

Federal investigators allege the nonprofit IANA, which says it was formed to promote Islam, funneled money to activities supporting terrorism.

Former Idaho student Bassem K. Khafagi was arrested in January near New York City's LaGuardia Airport to face bank fraud charges in Michigan, court documents show.

However, his arrest resulted from the investigation of IANA, the FBI source said Friday on condition of anonymity. The government says Khafagi was a founding member of the assembly.

The second man under arrest is University of Idaho student Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, who was arrested last month and charged with visa fraud and making false statements on visa applications. He is in custody in Boise, Idaho.

Khafagi's arrest was first reported Friday by The Spokesman-Review newspaper of Spokane.

Khafagi, of Egypt, and Al-Hussayen, a Saudi, also are being held for investigation of violating U.S. immigration laws.

Federal investigators contend Al-Hussayen and IANA provided Web sites for two radical Saudi sheiks, Salman Al-Awdah and Safar al-Hawali, who have direct contact with Osama bin Laden.

IANA is affiliated with Help the Needy, a nonprofit organization based in Syracuse, N.Y., that also is under investigation by the FBI. Four men of Arab descent were arrested in Syracuse last month and are accused of raising $4 million for unnamed individuals in Iraq through Help the Needy.

Investigators also have identified a former University of Idaho student who now lives in Detroit as an associate of IANA. He has not been charged and the FBI agent refused to disclose his name.

The Spokesman-Review reported that a former Washington State University student, Ismail Diab, is being held as a material witness in the investigation. Officials at the Pullman university could not confirm Friday that Diab was a student.


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