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U.S. condemns killing of Americans in Pakistan

Nov. 13, 1997

2 convicted in World Trade Center bombing

The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Ramzi Yousef, portrayed by prosecutors as one of history's most sinister terrorists, was found guilty Wednesday of masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. A fellow Islamic extremist was convicted as an accomplice.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin told jurors in his closing arguments that Yousef and co-defendant Eyad Ismoil 'bombed the World Trade Center because of their own prejudice and their own hatred for Israel, for the United States and for the people of the United States.'

'Yousef was a terrorist,' Dassin said. 'He came here to kill and to spread fear among the people of the United States.'

The verdicts bring the number of people convicted in the bombing to six. Four Islamic extremists already have been sentenced to 240 years in prison. One suspect remains at large.

Yousef winced and dropped his head slightly as the verdict was read. Ismoil showed no emotion; his mother wept. The conspiracy convictions carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Sentencing for Yousef was set for Jan. 8; for Ismoil, Feb. 12.

Lawyers for both men said they would appeal. Jurors deliberated for three days following a three-month trial at which prosecutors said Yousef hoped to frighten the United States out of support for Israel by blowing up the 110-story towers and killing hundreds of thousands of people.

The bombing killed six people, injured more than 1,000 and did more than a half billion dollars in damage to the World TradeCenter buildings, which withstood the blast.

Wednesday's verdict was the second terrorism conviction for Yousef. Last year Yousef represented himself in a conspiracy trial for killing a Japanese man with a plane bomb in December 1994, and for plotting to kill 4,000 Americans in two days by bombing a dozen airliners over the Far East. He has not yet been sentenced.

Yousef, 29, was born in Kuwait but had lived throughout the

Middle East by the time he arrived in the United States in 1992

solely to bomb an American landmark. Yousef joined his

co-conspirators in New Jersey, where they ordered chemicals and

rented a storage shed to accept deliveries and an apartment to

serve as a bomb factory.

Yousef's fingerprints were all over bombing manuals explaining

how to construct an explosive from urea-nitrate, the key ingredient

authorities said was used to make the 1,200-pound bomb used in the

attack.

Ismoil, 26, was accused of driving the bomb-laden truck into the

Trade Center's garage.

Yousef and Ismoil both fled on commercial flights the night of

the bombing. A $2 million reward for Yousef helped lead to his

capture in Pakistan in 1995, the same year Ismoil was picked up in

Jordan.

Afterwards, Yousef bragged about the February 1993 attack even

as federal agents returned him in handcuffs and leg irons to the

United States, prosecutors said. Investigators said Yousef

confessed and even ate a diagram he had drawn of the towers when he

feared agents would take it.

An FBI agent said Yousef told him he would have made the bomb

bigger if he had more money. He also expressed disappointment that

only six people died, a witness testified.

Investigators believed it was likely Yousef was part of a small

terrorist cell rather than directly connected to any well-funded

sources such as a nation or established organization.

Defense lawyers accused the FBI of lying, saying agents would do

whatever they could to avenge one of the worst terrorist attacks in

the nation's history.

Ismoil claimed in statements that he did not know a bomb was in

the van. He said he was told it was a shipment of cleaning

products.

Three of the four men convicted in 1994 of bombing the Trade

Center were followers of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind Egyptian

cleric who prosecutors said preached a fiery brand of Islam.

In 1995, Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted of

conspiracy in a plot to blow up the United Nations, FBI

headquarters and two tunnels and a bridge linking Manhattan to New

Jersey. The sheik was sentenced to life in prison while the others

received long sentences.

Outside court, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said it was no time

to let down the nation's guard, noting that still at large is the

last suspect in the Trade Center bombing _ Abdul Rahman Yasin, who

was born in Bloomington, Ind., and moved to Iraq in the 1960s.

``This case investigation will never be over until we track down

anyone associated with this type of terrorism,'' she said.

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