Jewish World Review July 31, 2002 / 23 Menachem-Av, 5762

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Report: Spy says al Qaida scouted US base

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | SEATTLE (UPI) -- A British intelligence operative who infiltrated a London mosque to keep an eye on a noted Muslim radical confirmed that two men with links to al Qaida scouted out a remote Oregon ranch in 1999 as a possible site for a terrorist training camp inside the United States.

Reda Hassaine said in the Tuesday edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the two Egyptian-born men who toured the Bly, Ore., ranch worked for Abu Hamza, a London radical who preached at the mosque and is wanted in Yemen for having ties to terrorists.

"For me personally, it is sure that they belong to a terrorist network," Hassaine told the newspaper in a telephone interview from London. "There is no doubt ... they were completely linked to al Qaida and what was going on in Afghanistan."

Hassaine, a native of Algeria, monitored the goings on at Hamza's mosque for Britain's MI5 intelligence agency and said the two Egyptians, whose names were not revealed, had come to Great Britain in 1998 straight from one of the notorious terrorist training camps established in Afghanistan by Osama bin Laden's network.

The pair often wore Afghan-style clothing to the mosque. The two Egyptian men were known to have traveled the following year to a remote area of southern Oregon where they allegedly planned to team up with two Seattle men to set up what U.S. authorities believe was to have been an Afghan-style training camp that would be used to train prospective terrorists from Muslim communities in the United States. One of the men, according to Hassaine, was a specialist in military affairs, while the other was considered to be an intelligence adviser.

After scouting the ranch, the pair left in a huff when it turned out there was a lack of recruits, the newspaper said. They have not been charged with any wrongdoing and continue to live in London.

The two Seattle men -- James Ujaama and Semi Osman -- are in federal custody and federal terrorism investigators allege that Ujaama worked directly with the two Egyptians.

Ujaama's brother, Mustafa, denied Hassaine's allegations and said he and his brother had been considering buying the ranch for use as a summer retreat for Muslim children and a source of lamb meat for Islamic religious feasts.

"We rode horses and then left," Mustafa Ujaama said. "We couldn't find out who was the owner, and it was so far, we decided it wasn't a good purchase."

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