Nephew of 9/11 suspect denies Al Qaeda links


WASHINGTON: The nephew of the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks has denied having any links to the Al Qaeda terror network, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, who is the nephew of Khaled Sheikh Mohamed, told a military commission here last month that he had no ties to either Al Qaeda or the Taliban Islamic militants.

“I do not belong to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated organisations,” he said at a hearing at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre to determine his “enemy combatant” status.

Ali, who is accused by the US of preparing an attack against the US consulate in the southern Pakistani port of Karachi when he was arrested in 2003, said he also had no knowledge of any such plot.

“I did not plan, know about, or carry out any plot against the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan,” he told the commission on March 30, according to transcripts released yesterday by the Pentagon.

Ali is one of the 14 terror suspects transfered to the US military base in Cuba in September after having been held in secret CIA jails for several years.

His uncle, Khaled Sheikh Mohamed, the chief suspect in the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, is also being held at Guantanamo.

Mohamed has already confessed to carrying out or plotting some 31 attacks or assassinations around the world, including the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, according to the Pentagon.

An Ohio man has been accused of helping to train fellow Al Qaeda agents to carry out bombings in Europe and the US, US officials said yesterday.

The targets included European tourist resorts frequented by Americans as well as US military bases, embassies and consular offices in Europe, the indictment said.

Christopher Paul, 43, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.

Paul shared an apartment with convicted terrorist Iyman Faris, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for plotting to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Another Faris associate, Nurandin Abdi, is currently awaiting trial on charges that he plotted to blow up a shopping mall in Columbus.

Family friends told the Dispatch that Paul converted to Islam in college.

The indictment said Paul traveled to Germany in 1999 to provide explosives training and help recruit Al Qaeda agents and began researching commercial flight simulator program as well as remote-controlled boats and helicopters in 2006. – AFP