Mast to ()iHi America.rnIn tlic wake of Septcnibci’s terrorist attacks, it was rc]K)rtcdrnthat Muslim authorities had issued a lk)siuan passport tornOsama bin Laden at tlic l^osnian cmhass- in ‘ienna in 199s.rnThe l/etbcgoic goernnicnt tiiirs facilitated the moxement otrntlie man who had, b that time, alread acquired a reputation asrna dangerous terrorist. Another bcnefieiar of Bosnian citizenshiprnand passport was Abu /ubeida, a Palestinian from C^7azarnand one of bin l.aclen’s top lieutenants. He was in charge ofrncontacts with other Islamic terrorist networks and sent recruitsrnto terrorist training camps in iAfghanistau. He arranged trainingrnfor unsuccessful bomb plots in Canada and Jordan at the turnrnof the centur)- and a receuth foiled suicide attack on Hie U.S.rnembassy in Paris.rnUnder the Daton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnianrnwar, all Islamic xolunteers who fought with the Muslimrng<)ernment’s arm were supposed to leae the country. Severalrnhundred, however, took o er the Serbian village of BoeinjarnDonja, near the industrial eit- of Zenica in central Bosnia, andrnprovided instruction to local Muslim forces in terrorist activities.rnI’hey first attracted attention on December 18, 1995 whenrna ear bomb prematurel}’ exploded in Zenica. It was apparentlyrnmeant for American troops stationed nearbv, as reenge for thernsentencing of Sheik Omah Abdel Rahman in connection withrnthe first World Trade Center bombing.rnTwo months later, in Fcbruar’ 1996, Sb’OR units raided therntraining center of the Bosnian government’s secret policern(AID), located near Kojnica, and several people were arrested.rnInstructors from the Aliddle f last were teaching AID officers torndi.sguise bombs as toys and ice-cream cones.rnIn March 1996, in the northern French citv of Lille just beforerna summit of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations,rnFrench police discoered a car packed witlr explosi’es. Theirrninvestigation led them to a house in the industrial cit}’ ofrnRoubaix. .After a gunfight, the house exploded when the munitionsrninside caught fire. Four charred bodies were found, butrntwo men managed to flee. One was killed and the other wasrnwounded in a gim battle later that dav. In their car, policernfound rocket launchers, automahc weapons, ammunition, andrngrenades. I’hey also recoxered an electronic organizer containingrncoded telephone contacts, nearly a dozen of them inrnBosnia. ‘I’he ringleader was identified as a French convert to Islamrnnamed Caze, who had fought on the Muslim side inrnBosnia. The first known terrorist cell linked with flie Muslimrnsafe haven in Bosnia and operating in the West was revealed. Itrnwas composed of nine men who attended a local mosque, mostrnof whom had received military training at the Fl Moujahedrneonipound near Zenica. All of their weapons were smuggledrnhome from the Bosnian war.rnThat the government in Sarajevo was sympaflietie to Islamicrnmilitants is not surprising. T’hc facts of the ease were known tornthe American media but seldom allowed into flie open. Threernmonths after the Lille incident, the Washington Post confirmedrnthat “the Clinton administrafion knew of the achvifies of a socalledrnRelief Agency which w as, in fact, funneling weapons andrnmoney into Bosnia to prop up the Izetebegovic Muslim governmentrnin Sarajevo.”rn’Fhe following year, the Bosnian eonnechon resurfaced followingrnthe bombing of die Al Khobar building in Riyadh, SaudirnArabia. ‘Fhe New York ‘I’imes reported on June 26, 1997, thatrnseveral suspects had served with Bosnian Muslim forces andrnwere finked to Osama bin Laden. From that point on, the UnitedrnSlates and its allies complained periodic.ilK and ineffcetixelrnto the Muslim authorities in Sarajevo about the continuedrnpresence of fiie mujahidecn in Bosnia. According to a report inrnthe Los Angeles ‘limes (October 7), former Sceretarv of StaternMadeleine Albright—a zealous champion of the Bosuian-Mu.slimrncause—personalh’appealed to Alija lzcfl)egoic to oirst suspectedrnterrorists or rescind their Bosnian passports. Fhe effortrnb” top State Department aides eonfinued through the last dawsrnof file Clinton adnfinistration:rn:-tb- argued that zettx’govie declined the appeals . . . | andrnman had married Bosnian women, had taken up farmingrnand were legal cifizens. . . ^Although Izetbegoviernstepped down in October 2000, nran’ hard-liners remainrnin Bosnia’s bureaueraew and the are sn.speeted of operatingrntheir own rogue intelligence service that protects Islamicrnextremists, military and intelligence sources said.rnIn 1999, this connection attracted further attention whenrnU.S. law-enforcement authorities discovered that several suspectsrnwho have visited or lived in Bosnia were associated wifli arnterrorfst plot to bomb targets in the United States (including thernLos Angeles International Airport) on New Year’s Day 2000.rnAmong them was Karinr Said Atmani, a former roommate ofrnAhmet Ressemi, who was arrested at the Canadian-U.S. borderrnin mid-December 1999 with a carload of eplosi’es. ‘I he Canadianrnauthorities deported Atmani to Bosnia-Herzegovina onrnOctober 18, 1998, siipposedK- without knowing of his allegedrnparticipation in terrorist acfivities throughout Furope. Ressmirndecided to continue the plot alone. When he was captured,rnAmerican officials tried to track dow n .Atmani, but Bosnian officialsrndenied that he had been deported there. Invesfigators laterrnlearned that Atmani had been issued a new Bosnian passportrnsix months earlier. Atmani was finallv arrested this year andrnawaits sentencing on terrorism charges in a French jail.rnAnother Bosnian veteran, a Palestinian named Khalil Deck,rnwas arrested in Jordan in late December 1999 on suspicion ofrnin olvement in a plot to blow up tourist sites. Another Bosnianrneifizen, Hamid Aich, lived in Canada at the same time as Atmanirnand w orked for a charih associated wifli bin Laden.rnAn Algerian with Bosnian citizenship, described by a U.S. officialrnas “a junior Osama bin Laden,” tried to smuggle explosi’rnes in 1998 to an Fgyptian terrorist group plotting to destroyrnV.S. militar)- installafions in Germanv. The shipment includedrnmilitary C-4 plastic explosives and blasting caps. The CIArnintercepted the shipment, foiling the attack. The Algerian wasrnAbdelkader Mokhtari —also known as Abu el Maali—a selfsU’ledrn”communih’ leader” in the village of Boeinja. U.S. intelligencernestablished that el Maali was the leader of the group.rnWashington tried to force his deportation b- suspending a nfilitar-rnassistanee program in 1999. Onh’ when Washingtonrnthreatened to stop all economic aid did Izetbegovie agree to deportrnFl Maali. He was back in Bosnia within a year, moving inrnand out of the eountr’ freely. According to sources close to fliernNATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia, he is now believed tornbe in Afghanistan wifli bin Laden’s Al Qaeda group.rnMelirez Amdoiini, another veteran from Bosnia, was arrestedrnin September 1999 in Istanbul, where he arrived with a Bosnianrnpassport. It has been confinned fliat Ahmet Ressemi had fiesrnw itli Said Atmani, his colleague from the Fl Aloujahed brigade.rnThe New York Times Magazine reported on Februan,’ 6, 2000,rn irn24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn