Dutch Police Find Bin Laden Videos at Suspects' Homes
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Dutch police have seized videotapes of Usama bin Laden from the home of three men who are accused of plotting a terrorist attack on U.S. targets in Europe, a Dutch prosecutor said Monday.
The videotapes, in which bin Laden gives speeches and interviews, heightened speculation that the three suspects have ties to his Al Qaeda network, blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
The public prosecutor declined to comment on a possible connection with Al Qaeda. The two Frenchmen and a Dutchman were arrested Sept. 13, part of a Europe-wide investigation into possible plots to attack U.S. interests in Europe.
Dutch authorities seized the videotapes in a search of the suspects' Rotterdam home on the day of their arrest, public prosecutor P. Notenboom said at a pretrial hearing Monday before a district court in Rotterdam.
Police earlier had said only that they found fake passports, drivers' licenses, credit cards and a machine to falsify documents in the house search.
Dutch authorities wouldn't comment on the identity of the suspects.
The Dutch Telegraaf newspaper identified the prime suspect as Jerome Courtailler, a 27-year old Frenchman who converted to Islam. The two other suspects were identified as Frenchman Mohammed Berkous and Dutchman Saad Ibrahim, who is of Ethiopian origin.
Police in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain have arrested other suspects, also in the days immediately following Sept. 11, in plots to attack U.S. interests in Europe.
The authorities in Europe were believed to be looking at whether Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national who was indicted last Tuesday for conspiracy in the attacks on New York and Washington, is connected to the suspects.
A Rotterdam district judge ordered that the Dutch suspects be held by at least three more months, based in part on the disclosure of the bin Laden videotapes. Prosecutors had said they needed more time to hear witnesses to prepare for the trial.
Marjan van Kampen, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor, said the suspects allegedly "tried to falsify documents that could be used to commit an assault, possibly on the U.S. embassy in Paris."