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Friday, July 09, 2004

Jihad thwarted in Texas

Five Palestinian Arabs convicted
al Reuters: Five Palestinian brothers were found guilty on Wednesday of falsifying documents and making illegal shipments of computer equipment to countries the United States says are sponsors of terrorism.

The Elashi brothers and their Texas company called InfoCom were charged in a 25-count indictment with export violations, conspiracy and making false statements about computer equipment sent by InfoCom to Syria and Libya through an intermediary in Malta.

A federal jury in Texas deliberated for three days before reaching a verdict. The brothers, who have been living in Texas, could face up to 10 years in prison.

The arrest of four of the brothers three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States was announced with much fanfare by Attorney General John Ashcroft, who charged they were helping to support and finance terrorism by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The brothers -- Bayan Elashi, Ghassan Elashi, Basman Elashi, Hazim Elashi and Ihsan Elashyi, who spells his family name differently than his brothers -- are not facing charges of aiding Hamas in this trial.

Federal prosecutors have said they will hold a second trial at a date yet to be determined for three of the brothers on suspicion of funneling money to Hamas. In the second trial, they plan to charge that the brothers sent money to Hamas or one of its senior leaders, Musa Abu Marzook. Abu Marzook is married to Nadia Marzook, who is a cousin of the brothers.