US reveals its 22 most wanted terror suspects

War against terrorism: Manhunt
Click to follow
The Independent US

America unveiled a list of its most wanted terrorist suspects on Wednesday and announced new rewards for information about the 22 men it said were "armed and dangerous".

America unveiled a list of its most wanted terrorist suspects on Wednesday and announced new rewards for information about the 22 men it said were "armed and dangerous".

President George Bush said that by publicising the suspects' pictures, he was "robbing them of their secrecy" and increasing the pressure on them. "Terrorists try to operate in the shadows, they try to hide. But we're going to shine the light of justice on them," he said at FBI headquarters in Washington.

"These 22 individuals do not account for all of the terrorist activity in the world, but they're among the most dangerous, the leaders and key supporters, the planners and strategists. They must be found. They will be stopped, and they will be punished. All of our Allies and friends will now be familiar with these evil-doers and their associates. For those who join our coalition, we expect results. Eventually, no corner of the world will be dark enough to hide in."

Many of the 22 names are well-known, most particularly that of Osama bin Laden. Two of his most senior aides are also on the list.

In all, 13 of the men have been indicted in the US for their alleged role in the 1998 bombing attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in which 224 people were killed. Anas al-Liby came to the attention of British police when a training manual for Islamic "warriors" was seized from his home in Manchester. The 18-chapter document, which provides tips on terrorist strikes and how to avoid detection in Western culture, was provided as evidence in the trial of four men accused of the embassy bombings.

Other men on the wanted list are said to have been involved in four other terrorist incidents, including the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847 which resulted in the murder of a US serviceman, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.

To coincide with the publication of the list, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, announced a new programme of rewards for information about the 22. Each now has a $5m (£3.4m) price tag on his head, with the exception of Mr bin Laden. Two extra rewards for information about him mean he is worth $7m.

Officials realise that the publication of the list is a tool of only limited value. Many of the photographs are old and out of date. Some of the suspected terrorists may even have undergone plastic surgery since the pictures were taken. Most, if not all, are in hiding in countries that are at best limited in their support of America's anti-terrorism offensive. But the US believes that the money that has been offered could persuade people to pass on information.

The Attorney General, John Ashcroft, said yesterday that an "11 September Task Force" was being set up to concentrate purely on prosecuting people for the attacks on that date. Investigators are now concentrating their attention on a much smaller section of the 600 people who have been arrested and detained since 11 September. An extra 200 people are still being sought.

Comments