Albany Mosque Raid Uncovers Missile Plot

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Albany Mosque Raid Uncovers Missile Plot


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Aug 5, 9:18 AM (ET)

By CURT ANDERSON

(AP) The Masjid As-Salam mosqe in downtown Albany, N.Y., is seen Thursday, Aug. 5, 2004. Federal agents...
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Two leaders of a mosque in Albany, N.Y., were arrested on charges stemming from an alleged plot to help a man they thought was a terrorist purchase a shoulder-fired missile, federal authorities said Thursday.

The men have ties to a group called Ansar al-Islam, which has been linked to the al-Qaida terror network, according to two federal law enforcement authorities speaking on condition of anonymity.

The two arrests came as FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other agents executed search warrants at the Masjid As-Salam mosque and two Albany-area residences, officials said. The men were identified as Yassin Aref, 34, the imam of the mosque, and 49-year-old Mohammed Hoosain, one of the mosque's founders.

According to law enforcement officials, the two are being charged with providing material support to terrorism by participating in a conspiracy to help an individual they believed was a terrorist purchase a shoulder-fired missile.


The individual was in fact working undercover for the government and no missile ever changed hands. Aref and Hoosain were allegedly involved in money-laundering aspects of the plot, the officials said.

The investigation has been going on for a year and is not related to the Bush administration's decision earlier this week to raise the terror alert level for certain financial sector buildings in New York and Washington, the officials said.

In Albany, some mosque members gathered early Thursday outside the institution for morning prayers.

More details about the case were expected to be released later Thursday by the Justice Department in Washington.
 

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