profrv at nex.net.au
Tue Apr 20 06:30:49 PDT 1999
Terror phone link
By MARK DUNN
AN al-Qaeda lieutenant linked to hijacker Mohammed Atta phoned Australian
contacts several times before the September 11 attacks.
Imaz Eddin Barakat Yarbas, also known as Abu Dahdah, phoned people in
Australia between 1996 and the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and
Dahdah, a Syrian whose contact details were found in the diary of one of
Atta's subordinates, is now in custody in Spain with several other alleged
Atta died at the controls of American Airlines flight 11, which hit New
York's World Trade Centre first, in the attacks that killed 3056 people.
Dahdah reportedly met Osama bin Laden at least twice.
Spanish prosecutors have said one of Dahdah's co-accused, Luis Jose Galan
Gonzales, trained in an Indonesian terrorist camp in July last year.
The Spanish indictment alleges the cell's members "had been directly
related to the preparation and development of the attacks".
The US State Department has listed Australia as a known country where
al-Qaeda has operated.
Attorney-General Daryl Williams has confirmed ASIO is aware of Dahdah's
connection to Australia. But Mr Williams' office has refused to release
details about what investigations have been conducted or whether
individuals have been spoken to about calls they may have received from
It is the fourth time evidence of an al-Qaeda operative with Australian
contacts has been made public.
Mr Williams' spokeswoman Carina Tan Van Baren said ASIO would not comment
on the strength of the Australian links. Visa checks had established none
of the 20 named September 11 hijackers had visited Australia under their
real names, she said.
Mr Williams' office has also refused to comment further on statements he
made in December that two other Australians, aged 25 and 28, had trained
with al-Qaeda and were believed missing in Afghanistan.
Those men have been identified as Mathew Stewart of Queensland and Jack
Terrence Thomas of Melbourne.
The families of both men have denied their sons' links to the organisation.
The Attorney-General would also not comment on the state of
Australian-based businesses or groups it has previously claimed were being
monitored for suspected terrorism links.
One organisation in Melbourne, Al Barakat, voluntarily closed after its
money transfer business was frozen by Australian Federal Police.
Other al Barakat companies in the US, Somalia and Dubai have been forcibly
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