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"A base in Santa Clara, California, was used from 1990 to coordinate communications with terrorists' cells around the world, including Bin Laden's Sudanese base. Other operatives were based in New York."

BIN LADEN HAD US TERROR CELL FOR A DECADE
London Sunday Times © 11/11/01

TERRORIST network funded by Osama Bin Laden was established in New York and California more than 10 years ago with operatives dispatched to America for training in aviation, urban warfare and sending booby-trapped letters.

Confessions by Islamic fundamentalists under the command of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's deputy, have revealed how - years before the September 11 attacks - the terrorists established sleeper cells across the western world and were plotting sophisticated attacks.

In more than 10,000 pages of Egyptian state security documents, Britain is named as one of the key bases of Al-Zawahiri's Islamic Jihad organisation. Three leading members of its ruling council were based in London and it was also an important fundraising centre, making money through farming and even renovating houses in London.

Among the terrorist leader's agents living in America in the early 1990s were a communications specialist, a special forces officer, two wealthy doctors and a chain of fundraisers.

One operative with American citizenship, codenamed Adam, was planted in the United States in 1987 and then helped to co-ordinate communications, dispatch forged documentation and finance terrorists. Adam, the son of an Egypt Air pilot, was also instructed to get flight training.

Another agent, a former Egyptian special forces officer, worked with the American army before providing personal security advice to Bin Laden in Sudan in 1992.

Compiled by the Egyptian defence ministry, the documents provide the most authoritative account yet of the Islamic Jihad organisation and of Al-Zawahiri, whom many suspect was the inspiration behind the September 11 attacks. One of the most important hijackers, Mohammed Atta, was an Egyptian from Cairo. He, too, is suspected of being a member of Al- Zawahiri's organisation.

The documents reveal how:

Islamic Jihad, now considered part of Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, was being funded in Egypt from Bin Laden's personal fortune from the early 1990s.