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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 06:47 GMT 07:47 UK
Swansea student links to Bin Laden
Former Swansea University student Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef was involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center
Senior CIA officials have been in touch with the Swansea Institute several times since last week's terrorist attacks in New York, it has been revealed.

The American intelligence agency is inquiring about links between Ramzi Yousef, a former student at the college, and Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden.


I am personally convinced that our former student is no longer alive and I am personally convinced that he was part of a plot that was carried out against him and former Kuwaiti students

Professor Ken Reid Swansea Insitute deputy principal

Yousef, who studied electrical engineering in Swansea, was involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in which six people were killed.

The college was contacted by American and British intelligence officers at the time and has confirmed that it has been assisting the CIA with its current enquiries.

However Swansea Institute's deputy principal, Professor Ken Reid, believes that the man serving 240 years for the bombing was not the former Swansea student, but a man who had assumed his identity.

He said: "I am personally convinced that the person who is held in New York is not our former student.

Wreckage in New York
Hopes of finding survivors fades
"I am personally convinced that our former student is no longer alive and I am personally convinced that he was part of a plot that was carried out against him and former Kuwaiti students."

This, though, is not a view shared by Simon Reeve, a writer on terrorism who believes the view of MI5, Special Branch and the FBI's that Yousef did study in Swansea.

He said: "When his hideout was uncovered in the Philipines, intelligence agents there actually found chemistry books that been stolen from libraries in Swansea."

Meanwhile it is believed that a man arrested at Heathrow on the same day as the terrorist attacks in America had intended to travel to Wales.

Mufti Mohammed Khan is understood to have close ties to Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi dissident hiding in Afghanistan who is the prime suspect for organising last Tuesday's attacks.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden is named as the chief suspect

Special Branch has refused to say whether it is investigating possible links between Bin Laden and Wales.

A report in the Sunday Telegraph said that Khan - a leader of Osama Bin Laden's terrorist group who was arrested in London on Tuesday - had planned meetings in south Wales.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has joined American in naming Bin Laden as the prime suspect for carrying out the atrocities.

Mufti Mohammed Khan was arrested at Heathrow a few hours after the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been hit. He is now being questioned by the FBI.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that he is suspected to be the second-in-command of the Jaish-i-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed) which the FBI have described as one of the most dangerous terrorist cells in the world.

Taleban soldiers
Links with the Taleban investigated

It is a banned organisation in Britain and is a prime suspect for the attacks in New York and Washington. Its leaders have declared war on all US citizens.

Since the terrorist attacks the FBI has been alerted to more than 36,000 potential leads and has interviewed hundreds of people.

Much of the early evidence is said to point to Osama Bin Laden, whom federal officials believe masterminded the strikes.

Mr Khan's closeness to Mr Bin Laden became known in 1998 when the millionaire Saudi dissident urged the Pakistani people to back the Taleban militia in Kabul.

In a public letter to Mr Khan, released to the press, Mr Bin Laden said it was the "religious duty" of every Muslim to support the hard line Islamic militia who control most of Afghanistan.

Activists in south Wales are thought to have close links with Islamic extremists in Germany, where two of the people linked to last week's devastating attacks lived until last year.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Geraint Vincent
"Investigators first contacted Swansea Institute in the aftermath of the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993."

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See also:

13 Sep 01 | Wales
Welsh among US dead says Murphy
14 Sep 01 | Wales
US terrorist victims mourned
14 Sep 01 | Wales
Wales remembers attack victims
16 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Britain 'at war with terrorism'
18 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair embarks on diplomatic offensive
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