Sat, Aug 21, 2004 at 5:53:12 pm
HYANNIS — A long-sought suspected Al Qaeda member who has eluded a concerted international dragnet may have been sighted at a Nantucket airport this week, prompting the FBI to distribute a picture of the suspect to law enforcement and transportation officials on the island.
Law enforcement authorities declined to disclose details of the possible sighting of Amer el-Maati, who allegedly has talked about hijacking a plane in Canada and flying it into a building in the United States. The sighting was first reported in the Inquirer and Mirror newspaper of Nantucket yesterday, citing unnamed town and airport sources.
The State Police went to the Nantucket Memorial Airport at noon Thursday after the possible sighting was reported, according to Phillip Parent of the Steamship Authority, which runs ferries to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Later on Thursday, the FBI distributed photographs of Amer el-Maati to airline and ferry employees, as well as island law enforcement officials. The photographs were not released to the media, but an FBI official confirmed the sighting report.
A flier with the photo describes Maati as “armed and dangerous” and says he “is being sought for possible terrorist threats in the United States,” said Parent, the Steamship Authority’s human resources director.
In May, US authorities released the photographs of Maati, 41, and six others, saying they were possibly planning terrorist attacks on American targets.
According to the FBI, Maati, also known as Amro Badr Eldin Abou, says he has Egyptian and Syrian roots, but was born in Kuwait in 1966. Maati has Canadian citizenship and is a licensed pilot, the FBI has said.
Here’s Amer el-Maati’s very own page at the FBI web site: FBI Seeking Information - Amer El-Maati.