List of most-wanted terrorist suspects being compiled

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2001

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is readying a new ''most wanted'' list of suspected terrorists who are believed to be at large, seeking to bolster the pressure for their capture, officials said Tuesday.

President Bush is expected to announce the list Wednesday during an appearance at the FBI headquarters that has been at the epicenter of the investigation into the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings.

Law enforcement officials familiar with the list said it would include about 19 names, including that of Osama bin Laden and at least two of his top deputies.

Officials said others likely to be on the list include at-large suspects in the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa two years later. U.S. authorities have accused bin Laden's network of instigating both attacks.

Meanwhile, federal authorities are awaiting test results to determine whether the strain of anthrax that killed a tabloid newspaper editor in Florida was manmade or natural.

Earlier Tuesday, federal officials said they believed the bacteria was manmade. But they later said test results had not been completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The officials said investigators so far have found no evidence linking the Florida incident to terrorism, but they suspect it might have involved criminal activity.

Overseas, anti-terrorist detectives in Ireland arrested three Libyans and an Algerian at their Dublin homes on suspicion of fund raising and providing logistical support to groups linked to bin al-Qaida.

More than $13,000 in cash, documents and financial records were seized, detectives said. They were also investigating the four men's various bank accounts.

Police refused to identify the detainees, but authorities said they included:

n A 39-year-old Libyan who has directed two Islamic charities in Ireland that detectives suspect have been used to pass funds to al-Qaida members.

n A 26-year-old Algerian who arrived in Ireland illegally two years ago and has previously been suspected of involvement in abortive plans to attack U.S. cities during millennium celebrations.

In Florida, tests so far had not found any other workers at the tabloid newspaper building who were infected, or additional spores of the bacteria except those found on the computer keyboard of the victim who died last week, officials said.

Robert Stevens, 63, a photo editor at The Sun newspaper, died from an anthrax he inhaled, and high-tech tests were being performed to help determine the origin of the bacteria. He died on Friday, the first such death in the United States since 1976.

Dr. Jean Malecki, director of the Palm Beach County Health Department, said officials could not say whether someone genetically manufactured the bacteria or they occurred naturally because tests weren't completed.

''We're open to the possibility of anything,'' she said, adding that anthrax tests at Stevens' home were negative.

The FBI continues to investigate how the anthrax was introduced and no one has been charged.

A tiny amount of anthrax was found on a keyboard at the newspaper offices, but tests on the building's air systems and areas frequented by Stevens have turned up no further evidence of the bacteria, the officials said.

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