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World - Africa

2nd man charged in Kenya blast points finger at bin Laden

August 28, 1998
Web posted at: 8:31 p.m. EDT (0031 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A second suspect in the deadly August 7 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya faced charges in a New York courtroom Friday, and law enforcement officials said he has provided new information linking the attack to Osama bin Laden.

Mohamed Saddiq Odeh, 33, who arrived Thursday in New York after being held by Kenyan authorities for nearly two weeks, was charged with 12 counts of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of using a weapon of mass destruction.

The 12 murder counts represent the 12 U.S. citizens who died in Nairobi. A preliminary hearing for Odeh was set for September 28.

On Thursday, identical charges were filed against Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-'Owhali, alias Khalid Salim, a Yemeni national who also was arrested in Kenya and brought to the United States.


Odeh told the FBI that he had trained in a number of camps affiliated with al Qaeda, an international terrorist group allegedly led by bin Laden, U.S. officials told CNN. Odeh also told the FBI that he believed al Qaeda had carried out the Nairobi bombing and another blast at the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

However, Odeh denies participating in the bombing, and the charges filed against him do not specifically allege his active participation.

"He took responsibility and is taking responsibility for being a member of the organization. That's all," said Odeh's lawyer, Jack Sachs.

"When we were going over the complaint, he just made the comment that his religion doesn't permit him to kill innocent civilians," Sachs said.

Al-'Owhali, too, reportedly has told U.S. law enforcement officials that bin Laden was involved in the bombings. And as evidence mounts, the FBI is openly calling bin Laden the prime suspect in the Kenya and Tanzania blasts. FBI Director Louis Freeh called him "a primary subject of our investigation."

Justice Department officials expect more arrests to follow. They say Odeh has told them bin Laden had a dedicated network of supporters in Kenya.

U.S. prosecutors claim that Odeh, a Palestinian engineer, joined bin Laden's organization in 1992 and was aware of bin Laden's call for a jihad, or holy war, against America. He allegedly raised money for the organization.

In 1993, prosecutors say, Odeh trained Islamic fighters in Somalia to battle U.N. peacekeeping forces, and in the days leading up to the Kenyan bombing, he was in Nairobi with other members of bin Laden's network.

Correspondents Pierre Thomas and Tony Clark contributed to this report.
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