Islamic Jihad rejects U.S. charges
The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who was among eight people indicted on U.S. "terrorism" charges, denied terrorist links and blamed Israel's supporters for a campaign against his group.
"These are all claims that have no truth to them," Abdullah Ramadan Shallah told The Associated Press.
Shallah, 45, said it has no organizational presence in the United States or anywhere else besides Palestinian areas.
Shallah and seven others were charged in a 50-count indictment with supporting, financing and relaying messages for the Islamic Jihad. Four were arrested in the United States. The rest - including Shallah - are abroad and being sought, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said. All defendants could face life in prison if convicted.
Shallah said that Sami Al-Arian, a 45-year-old Palestinian professor at the University of South Florida described in the indictment as the Islamic Jihad's U.S. leader, has no connection to the group.
"These are fabrications woven by the Zionist lobby to serve Israel's interest in fighting the Arabs and Muslims in America for the purpose of terrorizing them and those who oppose America's policy and its blind and absolute support for its aggression against the Palestinian and Iraqi people," he said.
An Islamic Jihad statement described the U.S. administration as "becoming more Zionist than the Israeli government." It said the others named in the indictment had no relationship to the Islamic Jihad. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)