Title: Islamic Jihad 'Confessions' Described Document Number: FBIS-NES-1999-0309 Document Type: Daily Report Document Title: FBIS Translated Text Document Region: Near East/South Asia Document Date: 06 Mar 1999 Division: Arab Africa Subdivision: Egypt Sourceline: MM0903100499 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic 6 Mar 99 p 5 AFS Number: MM0903100499 Citysource: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Language: Arabic N/A Subslug: First of three reports by Khalid Sharaf-al-Din from Cairo: "Surprises in the Trial of the Largest International Fundamentalist Organization in Egypt. Abu-al-Dahab: My Mission Was To Attack the Turah Prison After Dropping a Bomb from a Glider" [FBIS Translated Text] In the second-biggest trial of fundamentalist organizations in Egypt, since the Jihad Organization trial of 1981 that followed the assassination of late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, the leading defendants being tried by the Higher Military Court at Haekstep base north of Cairo gave new information about an international organization whose policies were in accord with what has been attributed to Bin-Ladin, especially in the matter of attacking US interests around the world, particularly US embassies in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The Egyptian security services have continued their investigations in the Returnees from Albania case throughout the past four months. More than 20,000 pages of investigation report contain the defendants' detailed confessions to the nature of their anti-regime activities, violent acts inside Egypt, and plans to threaten the state's stability. The defendants' confessions brought many surprises and details about the violent groups' role, the extent of their activities abroad, and the political ambitions they were pursuing through their banned activities. Al-Sharq al-Awsat has read the investigation papers. The first thread in this case came with the arrest of defendant Ahmad Ibrahim al-Najjar in Albania, where he had fled after being sentenced to death in the Khan al-Khalili case in 1994 [date as published]. Once al-Najjar was captured, members of the organization began to fall one after another. He revealed the names of a large number of his partners and gave detailed information about the support he got from the Islamic Jihad Organization's leaders, foremost among them Ayman al-Zawahiri, 'Adil 'Abd-al-Majid, and Tharwat Salah Shihatah, who lives in Britain. Al-Najjar, who was sentenced to death in absentia in 1997 [date as published] in the case of the attempt to blow up Khan al-Khalili in central Cairo, said: The confrontation with the United States is a challenge that concerns not only Ayman al-Zawahiri or Usamah Bin-Ladin but the entire Islamic nation. Al-Najjar is among the 12 defendants accused of membership in the Jihad Organization who were extradited from Albania to Egypt last July. Another defendant extradited from Bulgaria to Egypt is also being tried before the court, whose sentences cannot be appealed. Forty-three defendants are on trial in person and 64 are being tried in absentia, among them Jihad leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (48 years old). He is regarded as the right-hand man of Usamah Bin-Ladin, who is accused by the United States of planning the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam explosions. Thirty-nine of the defendants were arrested before and four others were detained recently, but no announcement about this was made. In his confessions al-Najjar propounded this fundamentalist group's view of US moves in the Balkans. He believes that "though the United States supports Bosnia's Muslims, it does not want to see jihad exist in Europe because it fears that the presence of Islamic forces in the Balkans would repeat what happened in Afghanistan." Nonconventional Weapons [subhead] The most controversial point in the confessions of the defendants from the Albanian fundamentalist group was the confirmation that pro-Bin-Ladin elements had obtained germ and biological weapons by post at a cheap price. Factories in the former Eastern Europe supply viruses that cause fatal diseases, such as E-Coli and Salmonella, without checking the identities of the purchasers. The important thing for them is payment of the invoice in advance. One of the organization's members secure an offer to supply samples of anthrax gas [as published] and other toxic gases from a factory in a Southeast Asian country. The germs were offered at a price of $3,685, including shipping costs. A laboratory in Indonesia exported serums to the Islamic Moro Front, which has close ties with pro-Bin-Ladin groups and with Arab Afghans and Balkans [as published]. It is believed that the Moro Front has large quantities of toxic gases. In another part of the investigation the defendants said that a laboratory in the Czech Republic had agreed to provide samples of the lethal butolinum germ at $7,500 a sample. The laboratory did not query the purpose for which this lethal substance would be used. The security services' report on this point said that it is possible to use a microscopic quantity of these viruses [as published] to kill hundreds of people by inhaling it or eating contaminated food. The security services monitored contacts that elements abroad made with members inside the country to urge them to carry out new operations against police officers with the aim of undermining security. The security authorities exerted great efforts to monitor these elements and succeeded in getting back 12 leading members from Albania, another group from Arab and African countries, in addition to defendants seized in the [Nile] Delta area as they were preparing to carry out new operations, specially the al-Minufiyah group. The latter included 'Amr 'Ali, Sayyid Jum'ah, Majid Muhammad Mulukhiyah, Muhammad 'Abd-al-Mu'min Yusri, 'Ali 'Abd-al-Raziq Abu-Shanab, Sa'id Muhammad 'Abd-al-Ghaffar, and Muhammad 'Abd-al-Mun'im, in addition to Ahmad Sayyid Ibrahim al-Najjar, who was sentenced to death in the Khan al-Khalili case. Among the arrested defendants were Jad Abu-Sari' al-Qannas, Samir al-'Attar, Sabri Ibrahim al-'Attar, Mahmud al-Sayyid 'Abd-al-Dayim, Muhammad Husayn, Ashraf 'Ali Isma'il, Samir 'Abd-al-Mun'im, Hasan Muhammad Hasan, 'Abdallah Muhammad al-Bakri, Sayyid Muhammad 'Ali Mansur, Muhammad Muhammad Shalgham, 'Imad Ahmad Hasanayn, 'Awad Hasan Mutawalli, Na'im 'Abd-al-Na'im, Hisham Abazah, and 'Ali al-'Arif. The investigations conducted by the security services and the Higher State Security Prosecution Office with the defendants revealed a number of new changes in the Islamic groups' ways of action and therefore the means of confronting and monitoring them. The defendants' confessions showed that the organizations adopted new mechanisms, most noticeably the following: They expanded the scope of their targets. They stopped limiting them to Egyptian and Arab figures and installations and included the interests of the major powers, specially US and French interests, because of their involvement, according to the defendants, in the pursuit of the organization's members inside and outside their territories. According to defendant Sa'id Salamah's confessions, targeting these countries' interests was bound to have a massive media value, and this would confirm the organization's capabilities, which some quarters had begun to doubt. They diversified the targets and did not limit them to the blowing up of installations. This change included the kidnapping of figures and hostages "so as to bargain with the ruling regimes and security services for the release of the detained members of the Islamic Group [IG] or other pro-loyal groups, as defendant Ahmad Ibrahim al-Najjar said in his confessions. They launched joint action with other groups and organizations, both local groups and others operating outside their countries. They sought to reduce the ideological and jurisprudential differences between the various groups that were active in armed action. The defendants' confessions revealed that coordination was indeed made between the main groups of Jihad, the Vanguards of Conquest, the IG, and the groups that split from it. Meanwhile, this new action was carried out under the umbrella of what was called the Army for the Liberation of Islamic Holy Places, which is reportedly led by Usamah Bin-Ladin, who has become the highest organizational term of reference for all the jihad groups. They refrained from targeting countries and areas that constituted safe havens for these groups and where it was easy to move. A Bomb From a Glider [subhead] On the other hand, Egyptian judicial sources said that recently arrested elements from the Jihad Organization involved in the case intended to carry out an airborne landing operation to spring some of the organization's leaders in Turah Prison south of Cairo. They said that one of these elements, Khalid Abu-al-Dahab, who has both Egyptian and US citizenship, confessed to the investigators interrogating the defendants in the Albanian Arabs' case. He said that the organization's leaders residing in Afghanistan had given him the task of planning an attack on the Turah Prison to facilitate the escape of a number of IG leaders. No date was set or preparations made for the plan, which involved dropping explosives from an Adeltap [name as transliterated] glider to cause an explosion in the prison. The aim was to create panic so that the glider could then land near the cells where the Islamic Jihad members were detained and release them. Most of the fundamentalist elements are kept in this complex, which comprises five blocks where prisoners are held in heavily guarded cells and is known as the al-'Aqrab Prison. Abu-al-Dahab added that he learned how to fly this type of glider at a civil flying school in San Francisco and had then gone to Afghanistan in the early 1990s where he trained three Jihad members to use it. He stressed that he left Egypt for the United States in 1986 and joined the Albanian Arabs a year later. Al-Najjar's Confessions [subhead] The confessions of the first defendant in the Albanian Arabs' case, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Najjar, filled 143 pages that detailed the investigations conducted by the Higher State Security Prosecution Office before the whole case was referred to the military judiciary. He said that he belonged to the second generation of the Jihad and IG alliance, which was launched at the time by 'Abbud al-Zummar, Najih Ibrahim, and Muhammad 'Abd-al-Salam Faraj with the blessing of Shaykh 'Umar 'Abd-al-Rahman. This alliance assassinated President al-Sadat in 1981 during the military parade that was held to commemorate Egypt's celebrations of the October victory. He added that the military court sentenced him at that time to three years in prison and that he had been released at the end of 1984. Al-Najjar had not ceased his banned organizational activities from the day he was released to this day. Following his release, he revived the Jihad Organization in 1988 by recruiting some members in the Nahiya [as transliterated] area in al-Jizah governorate. But the Egyptian security services arrested his group, which was then known as "Islamic Punishment" [al-Qasas al-Islami]. Al-Najjar tried to form another group after his release in order to carry out armed operations and overthrow the regime. But he decided to flee from Egypt for good after the security services discovered his extremist group, which was planning to damage Egypt's economy by blowing up the tourist quarter of Khan al-Khalili in the Holy al-Azhar area. Al-Najjar went on to confess that he succeeded in entering Yemeni's territories, where he lived in Sanaa for a short time during which he was in contact with defendant Yusuf al-Jindi, the second man in the Khan al-Khalili case, who remained in hiding before the Egyptian security services arrested him. Al-Jindi lived in the Kirdasah [as transliterated] area, west of Cairo. Contacts between al-Najjar and al-Jindi continued throughout the former's stay in Sanaa until al-Jindi was discovered and referred to the military court, which sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor in Case No. 60 for the year 1994 -- military crimes. During the trial, al-Najjar was deeply fearful that al-Jindi would reveal his whereabouts and his role in the region and hence prompt the Egyptian Government to ask the Yemeni authorities to extradite him. He decided to flee from Sanaa to a European country and seek political asylum, as other leaders of the organization had done in the past. Escape From Yemen [subhead] A preliminary reading of the policy followed by the Egyptian security services to capture and chase this organization's members clearly shows that these services pursued a new policy of pursuing the organization's members outside Egypt's borders. They put into action mechanisms for the extradition and exchange of criminals with most countries, including even Ecuador and Uruguay. The latter recently extradited to Egypt Muhammad 'Abd-al-'Al, one of the IG leaders who was one of the perpetrators of the attack on foreign tourists at the Hatshaput Temple in Luxor last year. Going back to al-Najjar's confessions, he said: I knew that the Yemeni Government had started full security cooperation with the Egyptian authorities. I therefore decided to flee from Yemen to somewhere in East Europe or Latin America. At that time I thought that one of the Jihad leaders who has been a fugitive for a long time would help me do so. I contacted brother 'Adil 'Abd-al-Majid, who had political asylum in Britain and was living in London. It is known that 'Adil manages a press office called the Office for the Defense of the Egyptian People, which he uses to attack the Egyptian Government in anti-regime publications and pamphlets. When I told 'Adil about the situation, he helped by sending me $1,500 so that I could leave Yemen. I did succeed in doing so by using forged travel documents and arrived in Albania [he said]. On his arrival there, a new stage in organizational activity began to revive the Jihad Organization, which had received heavy blows from the Egyptian Government every time its leadership tried to revive it. According to al-Najjar's recorded confessions in the investigation file, he worked as a teacher of Arabic and religion after his arrival in Albania in a school belonging to an Islamic charity. He succeeded in gaining the confidence of the society's Muslim officials within few months and they let him manage the society as a whole. During that period, he renewed contacts with the organization's leaders in London and with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the organization's leader abroad. Contacts with 'Adil 'Abd-al-Majid and Tharwat Salah Shihatah were easy. He added: Telephone calls to al-Zawahiri were very difficult and were held through an internet site. The matter became even more complicated after al-Zawahiri's whereabouts in Geneva, Switzerland, were discovered and he decided to escape to another destination which was unknown even to al-Najjar. He said that the organization's leaders have not abandoned their ideas and are still working to establish a highly organized and well financed and planned armed group to achieve their objectives of seizing power in Egypt. He believes that they have maintained this objective since the coup planned by Jihad in 1981 and despite the Egyptian Government's success in hitting the organization and liquidating [as published] it. Al-Najjar stressed in his confessions that al-Zawahiri was installed as leader by the Jihad members abroad several years ago and that 'Abbud al-Zummar, the former leader now carrying out a life sentence in the assassination of President al-Sadat's case, is not the actual leader any more and has no organizational authority. This information explains the conflict between the organization's leaders in prison and the fugitive leaders abroad over the initiatives to stop acts of violence which were announced by the imprisoned leaders and rejected by those abroad. Al-Najjar said: The Jihad's organizational structure now is very complicated because a large number of its leaders are living abroad, and those living in Egypt are keen not to endanger themselves. He added that he did not know all the members or the nature of their tasks but knew that Tharwat Shihatah, the lawyer who fled to London, was in charge of security inside the organization and his responsibilities included protecting members, information, and documents, and dealing with attempts to infiltrate it. This is apparently the organization's intelligence service, which is in charge of protecting the organization and purging it. 'Adil 'Abd-al-Majid, who also fled to London, is in charge of the social committee that takes care of members inside and outside Egypt and provides the necessary funds for members when they flee from Egypt or when they need funds for specific purposes inside the country.