Philippine authorities questioning a Saudi Airlines pilot : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

American and Philippine authorities searched a hotel in Manila in connection with the terrorist attacks in the United States, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the President of the Philippines, said today.

Philippine officials also were questioning a Saudi Airlines pilot who they said might be related to those involved in Tuesday’s assaults. In addition, nine Malaysian men were turned back from the international airport in Cebu yesterday, suspected of having had terrorist training.

Ms Arroyo said the raid happened on Wednesday at the Bayview Hotel, which is near the US Embassy in Manila.

Philippine officials said three men with Omani passports who were staying at the hotel were seen taking extensive video footage of the US Embassy last week.

They said that the men, who all had the same surname and were between the ages of 26 and 29, were questioned and had their tapes checked. The tapes showed Manila landmarks, so the men were allowed to go.

A police intelligence source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the men checked into the hotel on September 8 and left the next day.

The Saudi Airlines pilot was a last-minute addition to the crew for flight SV862 from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, to Manila yesterday, officials said. He had been scheduled to fly to Riyadh on this afternoon, but the flight was delayed at least two hours so that the pilot could be questioned.

The nine Malaysian men were turned back after flying into Cebu from Kuala Lumpur.

Casimiro Madarang, the immigration chief at Cebu airport, said all had recently been in Pakistan an average of five months, which he considered to be enough time for terrorism training.

Philippine police had expressed suspicion that Tuesday’s attacks came close to the anniversary of the September 5, 1996, conviction of Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center.

Yousef’s arrest in Pakistan came after his roommate had been arrested in Manila in January 1995 following a fire that broke out in an apartment that the two shared.,,2001320903,00.html

-- Martin Thompson (, September 14, 2001

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