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U.S. charges two with conspiring to aid al Qaeda

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U.S. charges two with conspiring to aid al Qaeda

Mon May 30, 2005 02:17 AM ET


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A self-described martial arts experts and a physician, both U.S. citizens, have been arrested on a charge of conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda and are expected to be arraigned on Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department said on Sunday.

A complaint filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday alleges Tarik Ibn Osman Shah and Rafiq Sabir offered to provide assistance to al Qaeda during multiple meetings with a confidential source and an undercover FBI agent posing as an al Qaeda operative and recruiter, the Justice Department said in a statement.

During the course of the investigation, Shah and Sabir allegedly pledged their support and loyalty to al Qaeda and its leader, Osama Bin Laden, in conversations that were recorded with their consent, the statement said.

Shah allegedly agreed to provide training in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat to al Qaeda members and associates while Sabir allegedly agreed to provide medical assistance to wounded jihadists in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.

Travel records indicate that Sabir was scheduled to leave for Saudi Arabia on June 2, the statement said.

Shah was arrested by FBI agents in the Bronx area of New York this weekend while Sabir was arrested in the area of Boca Raton, Florida. Both were expected to be arraigned on Tuesday. If convicted, each could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a fine of $250,000, the Justice Department said.

The complaint further charges that "Shah repeatedly indicated his desire to train Muslim brothers in the martial arts in order to wage jihad and also regularly discussed his desire to find people who were willing to press the fight."

Shah allegedly presented himself and his "partner" Sabir, whom he referred to as a skilled medical doctor living in Florida, as a "package" deal, the Justice Department said.

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