Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Pursuit of Terrorists: US Opens Yousef Trial BOMB PLOT

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Pursuit of Terrorists: US Opens Yousef Trial BOMB PLOT

Article excerpt

He has used at least 11 aliases, but today Ramzi Ahmed Yousef will be known as the alleged "mastermind" of a plot to bomb 11 American airplanes in one day.

Mr. Yousef and two other men, both with their own aliases, will appear in federal court, where they are charged with planning a reign of terror in the skies. Although this trial is expected to take months, Yousef will be back in court again, after this case, to face charges as the leader of the bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993.

The trials are the culmination of the government's investigation into the World Trade Center bombing, which killed six people and injured thousands. Since almost all the defendants were extradited to the United States from foreign countries, the trial is also a way of sending a message to terrorists around the globe that it is hard to escape the American justice system.

"The case is a demonstration that the US has the capability and intends to pursue terrorists, in this case even someone who has not yet committed the terrorist acts abroad," says Roy Godson, president of the National Strategy Information Center, a Washington think tank that specializes in terrorism and security.

There is still no sign that terrorism is diminishing. Recently, President Clinton made terrorism the focus of a trip to the Middle East. Only last week the FBI warned prominent Jewish leaders, physicians, and businessmen that a Middle East organization may have targeted them. Extra security was provided to Jewish schools and other organizations.

At the moment, it is US policy to seek out suspected terrorists. "If we see more of these threats and retaliation, then the situation changes," says Michael Dobkowski of Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y., an expert on Middle East terrorism.

Yousef was captured last December in Pakistan. Yet according to the criminal indictment, Yousef and his co-defendant, Wali Khan Amin Shah, began their alleged terrorism in the Philippines. On Dec. …

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