RealNews

Al Qaeda Suspect Was in Brazil in the 1990s, Police Say

Brazilian police confirm that accused al Qaeda terrorist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed visited their country in the 1990s, and U.S. intelligence suggests that he may have hidden out in the region. Mohammed’s visit — the first confirmed al Qaeda presence in South America — renews fears that Osama bin Laden’s organization may have sleeper cells in South America. There have been numerous unconfirmed reports of al Qaeda training camps on Paraguay’s border with Brazil. When he was apprehended in Pakistan on March 1, Mohammed was one of the world’s most sought-after accused terrorists. Dubbed the field general of al Qaeda, he is one of bin Laden’s closest associates. According to Brazil’s Federal Police, Mohammed entered Brazil under his own name, using a Pakistani passport with a tourist visa, on Dec. 4, 1995. Brazilian police said Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department asked Brazil on June 25, 1998, to help apprehend Mohammed based on intelligence reports that he had returned to Brazil under an alias. A former U.S. official involved in the search for Mohammed in Brazil said that credible information placed him in the environs of Foz de Iguazu, a gritty southern Brazilian city that borders Argentina and Paraguay, in 1998. “We were fairly convinced . . . that he was there,” said the official, speaking on condition that he not be identified. “He would not have been aware we were looking for him.” Full Story

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