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ONE OF FBI MOST - WANTED TERRORISTS SAYS JEWISH AREAS WERE THE ORIGINAL TARGET OF 1993 WTC BOMBERS
Fri May 31 2002 15:51:47 ET
One of the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists says that Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhoods were the original targets of the men convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993. Abdul Rahman Yasin, in his first interview, says fellow bombers Ramzi Yousef and Mohammed Salameh decided instead to attack New York’s Twin Towers because they believed most of its occupants were Jewish. Yasin, who was indicted in the bombing but escaped, was interviewed by Lesley Stahl in an Iraqi installation near Baghdad last Thursday (23). Her report will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, June 2 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
“[Yousef] told me, ‘I want to blow up Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn,’” Yasin tells Stahl. But after scouting Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Yasin says Yousef had a better idea. “Ramzi Yousef told us to go to the World trade Center… ‘I have an idea we should do one big explosion rather than do small ones in Jewish neighborhoods,’” Yasin says the terrorist said.
They figured the World Trade Center would serve as a more efficient target. “The majority of people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews,” says Yasin.
Yasin, 40, says he is sorry for what he did and that the bombers, who he says he met for the first time while living in a Jersey City apartment building, talked him into it. “[Yousef and Salameh] used to tell me how Arabs suffered a great deal and that we have to send a message that this is not right…to revenge for my Palestinian brothers and my brothers in Saudi Arabia,” Yasin tells Stahl. He adds that they also prodded him about being an Iraqi who should avenge the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War. Yasin confirms that Yousef was the maker of the bomb used in the attack and that Yousef learned the process in a terrorist camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, before entering the U.S. “I knew that after …working with them.”
60 MINUTES has independently confirmed that the man interviewed is, indeed, Yasin, whose picture is on the FBI Web site along with Osama bin Laden, one of President Bush’s 22 most-wanted terrorists. The FBI is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to Yasin’s arrest.
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