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Entries in Saudi Arabia (5)

Tuesday
Nov132012

Student Handed Life Sentence for Attempted Bomb Plot

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A judge in Texas sentenced a Saudi Arabian man Tuesday for attempting to make bombs in an attempt to target several sites and former President George W. Bush.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a Saudi Arabian citizen living in Lubbock, Texas where he was studying chemical engineering at Texas Tech, will now serve life in federal prison; he was found guilty last June of attempting to purchase chemicals that would make something similar to TNT. He also sent emails writing about potential targets including nuclear plants and the home of former President Bush.

Authorities detected Aldawsari's plot when he attempted to purchase a large amount of phenol to make his bombs from a chemical supply company.

Assistant Attorney General Monaco said, "Khalid Aldawsari came to this country intent on carrying out an attack. He then began purchasing ingredients to construct a bomb and was actively researching potential targets in America.  Thanks to the hard work of many agents, analysts and prosecutors, his plot was thwarted before anyone was harmed; he was convicted at trial and, today at sentencing, he was held accountable for his actions."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Trial Date Set for Man Who Allegedly Plotted Saudi Diplomat's Assassination

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The American linked to Iran and accused of plotting to assassinate a Saudi diplomat will stand trial later this year.

A judge in New York has set an October trial for Manssor Arbabsiar, the Texas man with an Iranian passport accused in a plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. 

Arbabsiar was arrested late last year at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Prosecutors said he tried to arrange a bombing at a favorite restaurant of Adel al-Jubeir.

The White House accused Iran's government of playing a role in the plot.  Iran has denied it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct242011

Iranian-American Pleads Not Guilty in D.C. Assassination Plot

Nueces County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Manssor Arbabsiar, a Texas man accused of conspiring to kill the Saudi ambassador in a plot that U.S. authorities say was "conceived, sponsored and directed" in Iran, pleaded not guilty in a New York federal court Monday morning.

U.S. authorities say that Arbabsiar, 56, of Corpus Christi, Texas, plotted with members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards to kill Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir with a bomb attack at a D.C. restaurant. Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American, attempted to hire hitmen from Mexico's Zetas drug cartel, say officials, but was actually speaking to a DEA informant.

Arbabsiar pleaded not guilty to five counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to murder a foreign official.

Gholam Shakuri, whom U.S. officials describe as a member of the Quds force, part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, is also charged in the alleged plot, but remains at large. He is believed to be in Iran. Arbabsiar was arrested in New York on Sept. 29.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed on Oct. 11 that the DEA and FBI had disrupted a plot "conceived, sponsored and...directed from Iran" to murder al-Jubeir, which potentially would have been followed up by bombings of the Saudi Arabian and Israeli embassies.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against five Iranians allegedly tied to the plot and additional sanctions against an airline company allegedly linked to the Quds force.

A lawyer for Arbabsiar did not return requests for comment, but the defendant's wife, Martha Guerrero, said he was wrongly accused.

"I may not be living with him being separated, but I cannot for the life of me think that he would be capable of doing that," she told ABC News' Austin affiliate KVUE, noting the two had been separated some time. "He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm sure of that."

Iranian officials have strongly rejected the U.S. accusations, calling them a "fabrication." The head of the Iranian mission to the United Nations penned a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressing "outrage" at the allegations.

"The U.S. allegation is, obviously, a politically-motivated move and a showcase of its long-standing animosity towards the Iranian nation," the letter says.

The case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when Arbabsiar allegedly approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials.

Arbabsiar reportedly claimed he was being "directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government," including a cousin who was "a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform," according to a person briefed on the details of the case.

Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, expressed "utter disregard for collateral damage" in the planned bomb attacks in Washington, according to officials.

The complaint describes a conversation in which Arbabsiar was allegedly directing the informant to kill the Saudi ambassador and said the assassination could take place at a restaurant. When the informant feigned concern about Americans who also eat at the restaurant, Arbabsiar said he preferred if bystanders weren't killed but, "Sometimes, you know, you have no choice, is that right?"

U.S. officials said Arbabsiar met twice in July with the DEA informant in the northern Mexico city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, and negotiated a $1.5 million payment for the assassination of the Saudi ambassador. As a down payment, officials said Arbabsiar wired two payments of $49,960 on Aug. 1 and Aug. 9 to an FBI undercover bank account after he had returned to Iran.

Officials said Arbabsiar flew from Iran through Frankfurt, Germany, to Mexico City Sept. 29 for a final planning session, but was refused entry to Mexico and later put on a plane to New York, where he was arrested.

Officials said Arbabsiar is now cooperating with prosecutors and federal agents in New York.

"Though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would've been very real and many lives would've been lost," FBI Director Robert Mueller said of the foiled plot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep152011

Question Remains: Who Financed the 9/11 Attacks?

Robert Giroux/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11 and six months after the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, questions still remain regarding who funded the attacks that led to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damages.

The latest legal pursuit is that of an insurance syndicate of British insurer Lloyd's, which says the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its banks and various charities should be financially responsible for the $215 million it paid in insurance settlements to 9/11 victims' families.

William Doyle's family is one of the families determined to find those who funded the attacks on 9/11. Doyle's son, Joseph, was killed in the north tower of the World Trade Center.

William Doyle says that there are "concrete facts" showing the majority of the hijackers' funding originated from Saudi Arabia. He said the government helped "shield" some of that evidence when the joint congressional committee investigating the attacks published a report in December 2002 and redacted about 28 pages.

Doyle and others believe names of Saudi financiers and companies have been removed.

Former Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, former co-chair of the congressional committee, has called on the government to reopen its 9/11 investigation.

Craig Unger, journalist and author of House of Bush, House of Saud, said there is widespread reason to believe prominent Saudis were funding terrorists through Islamic charities. However, the United States-Saudi relationship is "duplicitous from both sides of the fence," in part because Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil producer and exporter.

Despite unanimous dismissals of Lloyd's nine defendants in cases in New York, the insurer's suit, filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania on Sept. 8, claims "al Qaeda would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the September 11th attacks" without the funding.

Sean Carter, an attorney with law firm Cozen O'Connor, whose client is the Lloyd's syndicate, said the lawsuit seeks recovery for amounts that were paid to settle claims brought against airlines and security companies related to Sept. 11.

The Pennsylvania lawsuit lists nine defendants, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Red Crescent Society, which is associated with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar102011

Saudi Student Indicted on Terror Charges

Photo Courtesy - Lubbock County Sheriff's Office/Getty Images(LUBBOCK, Tex.) -- A 20-year-old suspect has been indicted on charges of plotting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Federal officials started investigating Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a native of Saudi Arabia and former Texas Tech University student, after several companies reported that he was ordering bomb ingredients online. Aldawsari allegedly targeted New York City, nuclear plants, and former President George W. Bush's Dallas residence.

Officials arrested the chemical engineering student on Feb. 28. He was indicted before a federal grand jury on Wednesday

Aldawsari is being held in the Lubbock County Jail. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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