RealNews

FBI charges Fla. professor as terror fundraiser

A University of South Florida professor was arrested Thursday and charged with running the North American fundraising operation of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group committed to destroying Israel. Sami Al-Arian, 45, a Palestinian born in Kuwait, and seven others are charged with operating a racketeering organization that raised money to help Mideast terrorists kill more than 100 people — including two Americans — in 13 suicide bombings from 1992 to 2002. The 50-count indictment returned in Tampa alleges that Al-Arian, whose public criticism of Israel led USF to remove him from campus after the Sept. 11 attacks, established a terrorist ”cell” in Florida in 1984. The indictment says he used three Islamic groups as fronts to raise millions of dollars for families of suicide bombers. It also says the cell helped bombers write wills. Also arrested were two men in the Tampa area and another near Chicago. Four others are being sought overseas. If convicted, all could receive life in prison. ”We make no distinction between those who carry out terrorist attacks and those who knowingly finance, manage or supervise” terrorists, Attorney General John Ashcroft said. Full Story

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