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Bombing Suspect Admits Ties To bin Laden, Accepts Blame

By John J. Goldman
Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK

A second suspect in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, admitted he belonged to a terrorist organization headed by exiled Saudi extremist Osama bin Laden, according to an FBI complaint unsealed Friday, and he accepted responsibility for the loss of life in the blast.

Mohammed Saddiq Odeh denied he was directly involved in the Aug. 7 explosion and in the almost simultaneous bombing of the American Embassy in Tanzania. But the complaint said he accepted responsibility for the acts of terror because of his association with bin Laden, who U.S. officials say was the mastermind of the attacks.

Odeh, who was arrested in Pakistan with a stolen passport and brought to the United States on Friday, was held without bail in Federal Court in Manhattan on charges including premeditated murder.

The 33-year-old accused terrorist told FBI agents he joined bin Laden's group Al Qaida ("The Base") in 1992, and he believed bombings of both embassies were carried out by that organization, the complaint said.

Outside court, Jack Sachs, Odeh's lawyer, confirmed his client was a follower of bin Laden, but said, "it was not his mission in life to injure unarmed civilians."

"He said there are Muslims and there are Muslims," Sachs said, seeking to draw a distinction between his client and more militant members of the Saudi dissident's organization.

Three days before the Nairobi bombing, members of Al Qaida scouted the embassy, the complaint charged, and the day before the blast, Odeh left Kenya for Pakistan under an assumed name.

Odeh stated he was trained in explosives in camps affiliated with bin Laden and his training was "extensive enough for him to have carried out the bombings of the embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi," the complaint said.

He was the second suspect in the Kenya bombing to appear in a New York courtroom in two days. On Thursday, Mohammed Rashed Daoud Owhali also was held on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and use of weapons of mass destruction.