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Suspects In U.S. Embassy Bombings Linked to Taliban

Mohammed Saddiq Odeh, a 34-year-old Palestinian man from Jordan, allegedly confessed to Pakistani officials that he planned the August 7 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Odeh later denied this confession when questioned by FBI officials and Kenyan officials. Odeh claims that left Nairobi hours before the August 7 bombing, but admits to contributing his technical expertise to the project.

Pakistani officials have pledged the veracity of their information, arguing that Odeh may have expected sympathy from fellow Muslims, but knew he would be harshly punished for making the same confessions to U.S. or Kenyan officials.

According to Pakistani intelligence officials, Odeh also claimed to be one of 4,000-5,000 participants in an international terrorist network headed and financed by Osama bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire and Islamic militant who supports the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The network consists of groups of Islamic militants who plan attacks on U.S. citizens and U.S. allies. Odeh said the group was responsible for numerous attacks on U.S. citizens, including a 1993 attack on U.S. forces in Somalia. Odeh reportedly called that attack the network's "biggest triumph."

The network's head and financier, Osama bin Laden, is wanted for questioning regarding the recent U.S. embassy bombings and is being sheltered by the Taliban regime, which has exacted its own repressive version of Islam on Afghanistan. Taliban chief Mulla Mohammad Omar told the Afghan Islamic Press, "We will never hand Osama over to anyone and will protect him with our blood at all cost."

In addition to the recent U.S. embassy bombings, U.S. officials have linked Osama bin Laden to 1995 and 1996 attacks on U.S. military in Saudi Arabia. He denied participating in the attacks, but told CNN they were "a big honor that I missed participating in."

Media Resources: Washington Post, AFP and Reuters - August 19, 1998