Title: Part 3 of Islamic Jihad Trial Testimony Document Number: FBIS-NES-1999-0309 Document Type: Daily Report Document Title: FBIS Translated Text Document Region: Near East/South Asia Document Date: 08 Mar 1999 Division: Arab Africa Subdivision: Egypt Sourceline: MM0903150599 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic 8 Mar 99 p 10 AFS Number: MM0903150599 Citysource: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Language: Arabic N/A Subslug: Part three of report by Khalid Sharaf-al-Din from Cairo: "Bin-Ladin Backed Down on Entering Egypt and Led a Fundamentalist Delegation on a Secret Visit to Albania. Islamic Group Members Planned to Rob Jewelry Shops in Amman, Sanaa, and Jeddah To Finance Their Operations" [FBIS Translated Text] The Military Court's investigation of the Returnees from Albania Organization was sensational and full of surprises. A number of defendants confirmed that the Islamic Group Organization [IG], which is banned in Egypt, proposed to Usamah Bin-Ladin a plan for hiding him inside Egyptian territory. They stressed that the plan required Bin-Ladin to undergo plastic surgery and change some of his physical features, enter Egypt with forged travel documents, and hide in a remote area in Upper Egypt. In the investigations, parts of which Al-Sharq al-Awsat has seen, the defendants said that Bin-Ladin was convinced by this plan and began to study it on the basis of the information that the IG gave him about some towns in Upper Egypt, like al-Minya, Asyut, Suhaj, Qina, and others. It also provided him with other information about the population, demography, and topography of these governorates and available security measures. The defendants added: Bin-Ladin's escape to Egypt would have been the deal of a lifetime for him and the IG because it was the only country where no one would have suspected him living in. His funds would have been a big source of financing that the IG could never dream of, specially after its financial resources diminished substantially as a result of the tight Egyptian security cordon. The defendants also said in the investigations: The plan was cancelled following contacts between Bin-Ladin and senior leaders from the Jihad Organization, foremost of them Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri who warned him of the Egyptian security services. Al-Zawahiri also stressed to him that escaping to and hiding in Egypt would be a big risk in view of the country's flat lands and the security services' strong hold on the fundamentalist organizations. They added that Bin-Ladin ruled out this plan totally but thought of it again after the US strike on his positions in Afghanistan. ROBBING JEWELRY SHOPS IN ARAB COUNTRIES [subhead] There was no end to the surprises that emerged from the confessions made by members of the Returnees from Albania Organization, or the Arab Balkans as they are called. They confirmed that some members planned to rob jewelry shops in some Arab countries in order to finance the Organization's activities, spend on its members' travel between various countries, forge official documents and passports, and provide the necessary funds for carrying out the Organization's plans inside Egypt. Defendant 'Isam 'Abd-al-Tawwab 'Abd-al-'Alim's confessions confirmed that some members planned to rob jewelry shops in the Jordanian capital Amman, the Yemeni capital Sanaa, and the Saudi city of Jeddah. A special fatwa [religious legal ruling] was issued for that purpose by some fundamentalist shaykhs. The defendant added: Defendants 'Isam Shu'ayb and Faysal Muhammad 'Ayyad were supposed to take part in this plan under the supervision of leader Usamah Siddiq who prepared the plan and its details during his stay in a number of Arab countries (Yemen and Saudi Arabia). But the group, which lived in Jordan for a long time, failed to carry out the robbery after failing to secure the necessary weapons for raiding the shops. They also realized the difficulty of completing the operation in a strange country where they had no knowledge of any safe routes to escape with their loot and did not know how to sell the jewelry for cash or how to smuggle it out of Jordan. Defendant 'Isam 'Abd-al-Tawwab added: The Organization's group that had lived in Jordan for a long time told leader Usamah Siddiq that it could not carry out the plan. Orders were then issued not to carry it out for the sake of protecting the members. The defendant had made detailed confessions about the Organization's activities to the Higher State Security Prosecution Office before the case was referred to the Military Court. He confessed that he fled from Egypt in 1992 after his group in Bani Suwayf killed a dissident member called Husam al-Batuji and he was accused of being involved in the killing. He added that he moved between several Arab countries with forged documents and that leaders of the banned Jihad Organization who lived in London provided him with the necessary funds for his travels before he settled in Pristina. He added that he met senior leader Ahmad al-Najjar in Albania and learned from him about the Organization's organizational structure and the nature of its objective to bring down Egypt's regime. He noted that the Organization operated as an integrated structure of clusters that was divided into a number of committees. The leading committee was the one charged with carrying out armed terrorist operations inside Egypt. It was followed by the security committee which was in charge of training members on the ways of dealing with the security organs, avoiding being followed, and standing fast during interrogations. There was the shari'ah committee which taught members the Organization's ideas and the social one which took care of the detained members' families. The defendant revealed that several organizational meetings were held abroad which were attended by the Organization leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and others residing in London who used forged travel documents. He confirmed that there were a number of splits and disputes between the members during the period that preceded its discovery by the Egyptian security services. He said that fugitive defendant Hasan 'Ujayzah announced that he had split from the group led by Ayman al-Zawahiri. He added: Some members accused 'Ujayzah of having more extremist ideas since he believed that there was no proscription on taking money while Jihad required a fatwa for specific cases, similar to the ones issued to rob jewelry shops in Jordan. 'ISAM, HUSAM, AND MAJOR GENERAL KHAYRAT [subhead] The fundamentalist organizations' activities outside Egypt in addition to their local ones were revealed by the confessions of the defendants in this exceptionally complicated judicial and organizational issue. We stay with defendant 'Isam 'Abd-al-Tawwab 'Abd-al-'Alim. He is a controversial figure who was involved in several incidents. His activities span the whole history of the IG for more than 21 years. He always played the very important role of the mediator between a number of leaders, most noticeably between Usamah Siddiq and defendant Husam Nuwayr. The latter had already been indicted in the assassination of Maj. Gen. Ra'uf Khayrat, Assistant Director of the Egyptian State Security Intelligence Service. He also provided the funds and brought the weapons that were used in the nine bank explosions and helped monitor a number of Egyptian security officials. He carried out the decision to assassinate Khayrat when he prepared an automatic rifle and silencer. He then told Tal'at Yasin Hammam of the operation's success before the latter was killed in a confrontation with the security services. He was also in charge of distributing funds to the detainees' families. His career began when he was arrested in the Adam Mosque incident in 'Ayn Shams and imprisoned for 10 months. He said in his confessions that he was exempted from military service because his brother was among the detained IG members. He confessed that his brother convinced him to join the group. He added that the reason he confessed about Hasan Salih was because the latter was his cellmate during his imprisonment. All he knew about Tal'at Yasin Hammam was that he was the IG prince as reported in the press. But all the investigations and the confessions made by the other defendants confirmed that he was Hammam's right-hand man who called him the IG's dynamo. Preparations for every operation began and ended with him. He was the one who issued the statements to news agencies announcing the IG's responsibility for these operations. He said that the Organization's aim was to hit the state's economic foundations by undertaking hostile actions that targeted banks in particular because they did not follow Islamic shari'ah. He added that the Ibn-Taymiyah's fatwa that the Tatars must be fought applied to the banks. He asked the Organization's members to use aliases and provided them with forged documents for traveling from Egypt to Afghanistan or the Balkans. Yet he used all the "No's" in the Arabic language to deny what the investigations said about him. He said that his detained colleagues' confessions against him were untrue and that the material seized did not belong him and that it was the first time that he saw it. The case papers also show that he denied all the evidence against him presented by the Egyptian security organs. "No" was the only word he kept repeating during the investigations with him that were held before Hisham Saraya, the Higher States Security's Prosecutor General.