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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Tunisian man downed U.S. Plane, CSIS told; officials insist it was accidental

National Post

A captured al-Qaeda operative has told Canadian intelligence investigators that a Montreal man who trained in Afghanistan alongside the 9/11 hijackers was responsible for the crash of an American Airlines flight in New York three years ago.


Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents were told during five days of interviews with the source that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen also known as Farouk the Tunisian, had downed the plane with explosives on Nov. 12, 2001.

The source claimed Jdey had used his Canadian passport to board Flight 587 and 'conducted a suicide mission' with a small bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid, a 'Top Secret' Canadian government report says.

But officials said it was unlikely Jdey was actually involved in the crash, which killed 265 people and is considered accidental. The fact that al-Qaeda attributed the crash to Jdey, however, suggests they were expecting him to attack a plane.

'We have seen no evidence of anything other than an accident here,' said Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. 'There has been no evidence found, from what I can tell -- at least that's been relayed to us -- that there was any criminality involved here. It appears, at least the evidence we have, is that a vertical fin came off, not that there was any kind of event in the cabin.'"