|AN AL-QAEDA sleeper cell planning to attack the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Disneyland in California has been smashed by the FBI.|
Five men were yesterday charged in Detroit with acting as a combat cell for Islamic groups, waging a holy war on America and of falsely obtaining passports, Social Security numbers and other documents so their 'brothers' could enter the United States.
Four of the men - one remains at large- were seized just six days after the September 11 attacks on America last year. It was only yesterday that the true extent of their plot became public.
A search of the suspects Detroit apartment found a ‘surveillance’ videotape of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and Disneyland in California. The FBI believes the terror network shot the tape to 'case' their targets.
Maps of an airbase in Turkey used by American military forces and of a hospital in Amman, Jordan were also uncovered.
Members of the group also attempted to find security weaknesses at Detroit airport, where two worked as dishwashers during summer 2001, so they could have access to airliners.
Four of the 'Detroit Five' - Karim Koubriti, 23, Ahmed Hannan, 33, Farouk `Khalid' Ali- Haimoud, 21, and Youssef Hmimssa, 37, are in custody.
The fifth, known only as Abdella, is now on the run. He is believed to be the leader and an expert in airport security.
The men were members of the Salafi Group for Call and Combat, a militant Moslem organisation based in Algeria and backed by bin Laden.
Two other men, believed to be unconnected to the Detroit cell, were also charged yesterday with offences related to supporting Al-Qaeda.
A senior law enforcement official said more indictments are expected as the investigation into who masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington yields fresh evidence.