A man licensed to haul
hazardous cargo was arrested near Chicago last week by federal terrorism agents.
According to published reports, two of three men arrested at the man's former
Detroit residence also had recently trained to drive tractor-trailers.
Nabil Almarabh, named
by a source close to the federal investigation as a close associate of Osama
bin Laden, was arrested in a Burbank, IL, convenience store where he had recently
started working. He is being held on a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service request and on a warrant issued in Boston in March for allegedly violating
terms of his probation on an assault conviction.
In Detroit, agents interviewed
officials of the U.S. Truck Driver Training School, where two of the men found
in Almarabh's former residence, Ahmed Hannan and Karim Koubriti, spent a month
this summer learning to drive big rigs, the Detroit Free Press reported.
At Almarabh's former
residence, federal officials discovered false identification papers and a
day planner with notations in Arabic related to the U.S. base in Turkey, the
American "foreign minister" and an airport in Amman, Jordan, according
to the newspaper. The planner also contained sketches of an airport believed
to be in Turkey. The men worked as dishwashers until July for LSG Sky Chefs,
which provides in-flight meals for airlines at Detroit Metro Airport.
obtained his CDL on Sept. 11, 2000 - one year to the day before hijacked airliners
were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He is alleged to
have visited a Secretary of State branch in Dearborn in August 2000 and showed
proof that he had passed a road test in a big rig given by a driving examiner
for Detroit Public Schools.
Hannan and Koubriti started
training at the truckdriving school the same month they took a leave of absence
from their jobs at Sky Chefs. After they left, they kept their ID badges.
At the school, the men
claimed they needed the training classes for their jobs at Sky Chefs, the
Free Press reported. Sky Chefs officials, however, say they never considered
promoting the men to truckdrivers.
The two men and another
man, Farouk Ali-Haimoud, are charged with possession of false identification
documents and conspiracy. They are being held without bond by the U.S. Marshal's