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Jury convicts 2 in Trade Center blast

Ramzi Yousef and Eyad Ismoil November 12, 1997
Web posted at: 7:04 p.m. EST (0004 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Two men were convicted Wednesday afternoon of conspiring to bomb New York's World Trade Center in 1993, an attack that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.

After three days of deliberation, a federal jury convicted Ramzi Yousef, 29, and Eyad Ismoil, 26, on murder and conspiracy charges for their roles in a plot by Islamic extremists to topple the trade center's two 110-story towers.

The men now face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Their attorneys indicated they plan to appeal.

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Prosecutors argued that Yousef was one of the ringleaders of the bombing plot. Ismoil was accused of driving the truck with the 1,200-pound bomb into the trade center's parking garage, where it was detonated on February 26, 1993.

There was no reaction from Yousef or Ismoil upon hearing the verdict. Ismoil's mother, in the courtroom, began weeping.

Four other men had already been convicted in the case, each receiving a sentence of 240 years in prison.

Prosecutor: Investigation not over

WTC Prosecution team

Officials say at least one other suspect indicted in the case remains at large, believed to be hiding in Iraq. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said Wednesday that the investigation into the bombing would continue.

"The case investigation will never be over, in a sense, until we track down every single person who had any conceivable role," she said. "We've obviously done the vast bulk of the work here, but the investigation is not over."

The attack on the trade center was, at that time, the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil -- and brought home to the American public their possible vulnerability to Middle Eastern terrorism.

After the attack, both Yousef and Ismoil fled the United States on commercial airline flights. A $2 million reward helped lead to the capture of Yousef in Pakistan in 1995. Ismoil was captured that same year in Jordan.

Last year, Yousef was also convicted of conspiring to kill Americans by placing bombs on more than a dozen airliners in the Far East.

Yousef confession attacked

During their trial, prosecutors presented evidence linking Yousef to a storage shed and apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey, where they said the bomb was made. Yousef's fingerprints were also found on bomb-making manuals.

A federal agent accompanying Yousef on his flight back from Pakistan testified during the trial that Yousef bragged about his role in the attack. Yousef's lawyer attacked that testimony, accusing the agent, Brian Parr, of lying.

When he was captured in Jordan, Ismoil claimed he did not know there was a bomb in the truck -- an explanation one of the prosecutors in the case dismissed as "a pathetic lie."

Ismoil's defense attorney, Louis Aidala, said he planned to appeal the verdict and that part of his argument for overturning the verdict will be that he wasn't allowed to present information showing Ismoil had been duped by Yousef.

Correspondent Mary Ann McGann contributed to this report.


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