NEW YORK (May. 6)
Police and federal law-enforcement officials are refusing to comment on a report in the New York Post that they are investigating the possibility that a man other than El Sayyid Nosair assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane in November 1990.
According to an article in Thursday’s Post, Mahmoud Abouhalima, a suspect in the February bombing of New York’s World Trade Center, told authorities during his interrogation in Egypt that Nosair took part in the assassination, but that another man actually pulled the trigger and killed the militant rabbi.
In related news, authorities said a West Bank Palestinian who has been held in federal custody here since last September may have links to the group that carried out the World Trade Center bombing.
The man, 27-year-old Ahmad Muhammed Ajaj, arrived in the United States with a forged passport and many books on explosives.
In response to the Post reports about new information on the Kahane murder, FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette said, “There is no way I can comment on what Abouhalima may or may not have said.”
And New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference Thursday that he could not comment on the Post article.
According to the Post account, Abouhalima, who was arrested first in Egypt before being placed in U.S. custody and flown to New York, confessed to Egyptian authorities about his participation in the Trade Center bombing and named several accomplices who all had close ties to the blind Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, living in New Jersey.
ACTUAL GUNMAN SUPPOSEDLY AT LARGE
With regard to the Kahane murder, Abouhalima reportedly told investigators that Nosair’s role was to divert attention away from the real killer and allow him to escape.
Abouhalima is said to have named the actual gunman, but police here and in Egypt have not yet found him, the Post said.
Nosair was charged with the murder, but was convicted only of gun possession and shooting of a post office policeman who tried to stop Nosair from fleeing the area after the shooting. He is now serving a jail sentence on those charges.
The Post account maintains that the New York Police, Department reopened its investigation of the Kahane case two months ago after receiving the new information from Abouhalima.
In the investigation of the World Trade Center bombing, Ajaj, the Palestinian held in custody since September, has not been charged in connection with the case.
However, in an administrative detention order filed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, authorities said Ajaj was being placed in a high-security section of his Manhattan prison out of suspicion that he was connected to the February bombing.
Ajaj was arrested upon his arrival in the United States from Pakistan.
He was released two days after the bombing and then re-arrested on March 9, according to his lawyers.
Ajaj’s lawyers said he is being held unfairly, as no charges have been made against him.