US terror alert after Algerian caught smuggling explosives

THE US Customs Service has placed all 301 ports of entry into the country on high alert, following the arrest of an Algerian who tried to enter last week with explosives and a detonation device. Ahmed Ressam, 32, was caught near Seattle as he drove off the ferry from Victoria, Canada, in a hired car.

A search of the car revealed more than 100lbs of bomb-making supplies as well as the sophisticated detonation device. Officials said Mr Ressam was a resident of Montreal who had been denied political asylum because of suspicions that he had links with the main Algerian terrorist organisation, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). He has been charged with transporting explosives into the US, providing false identification and lying to officials.

Montreal police said that Mr Ressam could be linked to an Algerian citizen who was extradited from Canada to France on charges of involvement in the 1995 Paris Metro bombing. They also said that he was suspected of involvement in a ring that stole money to fund Islamic terrorist groups. He had two convictions for theft.

The US authorities said that they were looking for a possible accomplice, who had been with Mr Ressam during his three-week stay in Victoria. They also noted that the equipment found in his car was very similar to that used by associates of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi citizen said by the US to have masterminded the 1998 bombings of its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The alert declared by the Customs Service came just a week after the US State Department issued a global travel advisory notice to Americans living or travelling abroad, warning of the possible risk of a terrorist attack coinciding with millennium celebrations. However, there was no indication that the two events were directly connected.

The earlier warning was addressed primarily to Americans overseas and was subsequently linked to the arrest in Jordan of around 24 people suspected of being connected to Mr bin Laden. The latest reports say that as many as 200 people had been arrested in Pakistan, including one US citizen of Arab origin.

Ahmed Ressam's alleged ties appear to be with Algerian terrorism. While there was speculation - based on the location of the hotel he was booked in to - that he may have been planning a millennium attack in Seattle, or - based on a flight booking - that he was intending to travel to London, the same evidence could suggest that he was trying to escape arrest in Canada.

A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747 bound for Amsterdam from New York made an unscheduled stop in Boston early yesterday due to a bomb threat, officials said. Flight 644, carrying 266 passengers and 13 crew from John F Kennedy airport, landed at Boston's Logan airport after authorities received two calls warning that it should be checked for a bomb.

Suggested Topics
News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits