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Algerian Indicted in Bomb Plot Grand Jury Links Suspect to Terrorist Osama bin Laden

By Josh Meyer
LOS ANGELES TIMES -- A federal grand jury has indicted a London-based Algerian, accusing him of masterminding a plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport and of forging an alliance with global terrorist Osama bin Laden in a holy war against the United States.

The indictment returned late Monday by a grand jury in New York accused Dr. Haydar Abu Doha, 37, of being the leader of the Algerian terrorist group behind the plan to bomb the airport just before New Year’s Day 2000. It charged Doha with eight criminal counts, including conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Doha -- identified in the indictment also as “The Doctor,” Rachid, Amar Makhlolif and Didier Ajuelos -- faces life in prison if he is convicted on all counts. U.S. authorities said Tuesday they are seeking to extradite him from London, where he is held on immigration violations and on an earlier terrorism-related complaint.

Bin Laden, who remains a fugitive in Afghanistan, was named in the indictment but not charged with any crime. The indictment stopped short of implicating Bin Laden in the bombing plot, but it marked the first time the federal government has directly linked the Saudi militant to the group of Algerian terrorists behind the so-called millennium plot.

The grand jury alleged that Bin Laden and Doha met in December 1998 “to discuss cooperation and coordination” between their respective Islamic extremist organizations.

At that meeting, in the Taliban-controlled city of Kandahar in southeast Afghanistan, the two men agreed that the group of Algerian terrorists whom Doha “coordinated and oversaw” would join forces with Bin Laden’s global network of guerrillas in carrying out attacks against the United States, the indictment said.

By then, Doha and other Algerians had been training for months in one of Bin Laden’s terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and plotting to attack an airport or other high-profile target in the United States, the indictment said.

One of those Algerians, Ahmed Ressam, was later caught trying to enter the United States from Canada with a car trunk full of explosives. He was tried and convicted of attempting to blow up the Los Angeles airport.