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FBI Launches Global Manhunt For Suspected Saudi Terrorist

By Dan Eggen and Manuel Roig-Franzia
THE WASHINGTON POST -- The FBI launched a global manhunt Thursday for a suspected Saudi-born al-Qaida member who is feared to be planning terrorist attacks, even as federal agents fanned out across the country as part of a wartime plan to interview Iraqi nationals and arrest those in violation of immigration laws.

The FBI called Adnan El Shukrijumah, 27, an “imminent threat to U.S. citizens and interests” who is “suspected of planning terrorist activities.” One senior law enforcement official described him as a possible terror organizer in the style of Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but authorities said they have no details on what kind of plot he might be involved in.

An alias used by El Shukrijumah “kept coming up in numerous places,” including interrogations of captured al-Qaida lieutenant Khalid Sheik Mohammed, one official said. El Shukrijumah is believed to have a connection, as yet unclear, to Jose Padilla, the American-born al-Qaida suspect held on charges he was plotting to explode a radiological bomb in the United States.

U.S. authorities also recovered a document that links an alias used by Shukrijumah to the same Oklahoma flight school where Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person in the United States charged as a conspirator in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, studied aviation, one official said. There is no evidence, however, that El Shukrijumah received pilot training in the United States, the official said.

As the U.S. invasion of Iraq began Thursday, FBI agents launched their effort to interview about 11,000 Iraqi nationals around the country in search of intelligence tips, while officers from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested others who were in violation of immigration laws. Authorities refused to reveal how many Iraqi nationals were taken into custody, but said they were concentrated among sizable Iraqi communities in Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Boston and San Diego, one immigration official said.