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Archive for Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Egyptian-American denies terror charges

December 4, 2001

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— An Egyptian-American who received flight training in New Jersey and worked for an American Airlines affiliate denied stepped-up charges on Monday that he recruited fighters for an Islamic holy war.

Mohamed Hisham Seif Eddin is among 94 people on trial in Egypt's biggest case against Islamic militants in years. He is one of two defendants who received flight training in the United States.

Several of the Sept. 11 hijackers, including Egyptian-born Mohamed Atta, who is believed to have flown American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center, attended flight schools in the United States.

Seif Eddin, 40, worked for American Eagle Airlines, a regional affiliate of American Airlines, as a gate agent in Miami, and said he took two hours of flying lessons in New Jersey. Hossam Sami, a 23-year-old co-defendant, completed a flight training course in Texas in 1999.

Egyptian prosecutors have not linked any of the defendants to Osama bin Laden, blamed for the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

The defendants, most of whom were jailed in May, claim that Egyptian authorities, trying to prove they were tough on terrorism, increased the severity of charges against the group after the Sept. 11 attacks.

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