Saturday, February 11, 2006

Buffalo Area Terror Suspect Among Escapees in Yemen

BUFFALO -- An American wanted for allegedly training with the "Lackawanna Six" at an al Qaeda camp was among the 23 men who tunneled out of a Yemeni prison last week, the FBI confirmed Friday.

Authorities had said they thought Jaber Elbaneh, 39, was probably among the escapees but were not certain because of conflicting information, including a posting by the international police organization Interpol that pictured Elbaneh but described someone else.

Elbaneh is charged in Buffalo with providing material support to al Qaeda by attending the al Farooq training camp, run by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Six other men who attended the camp -- dubbed the Lackawanna Six after the city near Buffalo where they lived -- are serving sentences of seven to 10 years after pleading guilty in 2003 to providing support to a terrorist organization.

Authorities believe Elbaneh surrendered to Yemeni authorities in December 2003. The United States had asked Yemen to hand him over but had not received an official response.

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· NEW YORK -- A federal judge denied bail for a New York bookstore owner charged with agreeing to help transfer funds for terrorists to buy weapons, saying the evidence against him was "very strong." Abdulrahman Farhane, 51, who was ordered to jail, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to allegedly providing support to al Qaeda.

· CAPE CANAVERAL -- Adventurer Steve Fossett circumnavigated the globe in an experimental plane on a quest to break aviation's distance record. He was to decide whether to land early or try to reach England.

· COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio's corruption scandal widened when two former aides to Gov. Bob Taft (R) were charged with failing to report loans and other favors from a coin dealer at the center of the case. H. Douglas Talbott and Doug Moormann became the third and fourth former Taft aides charged with ethics violations over their relationship with Tom Noe, who invested $50 million of state money in coins, $13 million of which is unaccounted for.

· TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) ousted the head of the state prison system after the man was named in an investigation into possible criminal activity among prison employees. James Crosby, a former warden at Florida State Prison, had headed the nation's third-largest corrections system for three years.

· SAN DIEGO -- A van carrying suspected illegal immigrants crashed near the border with Mexico as it was being chased by the Border Patrol, injuring more than 20 people, eight critically. Twenty-eight people were in the van when it overturned while trying to avoid a strip of spikes that agents had placed in its path, authorities said. Before the crash, agents had taken about 60 suspected illegal immigrants into custody after learning that vans were being loaded near the exit to a 2,400-foot tunnel from Mexico.

-- From News Services

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