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Iraq Seen Behind 1993 World Trade Center Attack


(Washington, DC--September 28, 2001) An expert on Iraq said that Baghdad was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and that the U.S. should remain open to the possibility that state-sponsored terrorism may have been behind the September 11 attack as well.

Laurie Mylroie, a longtime student of Iraq and its dictator Saddam Hussein, told an RFE/RL briefing this week that her review of the evidence made public during the trial of those charged and ultimately convicted of carrying out the 1993 attack on the WTC had convinced her that Iraq had sponsored that act of terrorism.

She noted that the mode of operation of one of the prime suspects in the first World Trade Center attack, Ahmed Ramzi Yousef, may point to an even greater number of terrorist attacks in the future. That suspect entered the United States with an Iraqi passport but left the United States immediately after the first World Trade Center bombing under a new identity -- as Kuwaiti-born Pakistani national Abdul Basit Karim.

Mylroie pointed out that information in Basit Karim's file in Kuwait -- whose physical characteristics do not match those of Ramzi Yousef -- could have been altered during the 1990 military occupation of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces. Mylroie further suggested that Iraqi intelligence could have used the opportunity to doctor hundreds of Kuwaiti Interior Ministry files during this time, providing their agents and operatives numerous identities to carry on Saddam Hussein's terrorist plans.

Because of this history, Mylroie said, those examining the more recent attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon should fully explore the possibility that Saddam had again played some role in the more recent events, as part of what Saddam considers an ongoing war with the United States.

Eight years ago, she said, the U.S. considered the attack on the World Trade Center through the paradigm of criminal justice. But both then and now, she said, employing the paradigm of state-sponsored terrorism will help to ensure that no possibility goes unexplored.
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