A New York federal court on 4 March found four Arabs guilty of a conspiracy to blow up the World Trade Centre. The building was severely damaged in a bomb explosion on 26 February 1993 which killed six people. The jury’s verdict came at the end of a five-month trial.
The four men are Mohamed Salameh (Palestinian), Nidal Ayyad (Palestinian, born in Kuwait), Mahmoud Abu Halima (Egyptian) and Ahmad Ajjaj (Palestinian). Sentences are due to be decided on 4 May. The main charge of consipiracy only carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison but the other associated charges on which the four were found guilty carry longer sentences.
Two suspects said to be the masterminds of the plot are fugitives. They are identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as Ramzi Yousef and Abdel Yassin. They both entered the US on Iraqi passports. Yousef is said to be in Iraq. US press reports say the FBI believes that the most likely motive for the explosion was an act of revenge by Iraq for the US-led campaign to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. The bomb exploded on the second anniversary of the end of the Gulf war.