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Homeland Security

Suspected al-Qaida Terrorist Appears at US Military Hearings

04 April 2006

A suspected al-Qaida terrorist facing charges in a 2002 grenade attack in Afghanistan has appeared before a military tribunal at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Afghan Abdul Zahir is accused of hurling a grenade at a car carrying three journalists. A Toronto Star correspondent in the vehicle, Kathleen Kenna, suffered leg injuries in the attack. Zahir, who also faces charges of conspiracy and aiding the enemy, did not enter a plea.

Prosecutors allege Zahir aided the enemy by working as a translator and money courier for the al-Qaida terrorist network and by plotting attacks.

Proceedings were also scheduled this week for three other Guantanamo detainees.

Canadian teenager Omar Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Ethiopian Binyam Muhammad stands accused of plotting attacks, and Yemeni Ali Hamza al Bahlul is linked to al-Qaida.

So far, only 10 of the nearly 500 Guantanamo prisoners have been charged.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a landmark case challenging the legality of military tribunals established by the Bush administration in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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