Defendant connected to alleged Tanzania bombers
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Prosecutors used a passport photo of one of the U.S. embassy bombings defendants to link him to the crime on Wednesday.
The photo of Khalfan Khamis Mohamed was found at the house used by two men who bought a truck used in one of the bombings, prosecutors told the jury.
The photograph was among items seized during a search of the Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, residence used by Ahmed Ghailani. Ghailani was one of two men who purchased a Nissan Atlas refrigeration truck that carried a bomb that exploded at the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998, and killed 11 people, two of them embassy employees.
Mohamed is one of four men on trial for the Tanzania bombing and the simultaneous attack at the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed 213 people.
Two witnesses on Wednesday testified that Mohamed, in June 1998, rented a different Dar es Salaam house in the city's Ilala district. Prosecutors say final preparations for the Tanzania attack occurred there.
In all, it was the first evidence against Mohamed after six weeks of testimony.
Four witnesses testified Wednesday about the type of truck used in the Tanzania bombing, its sale, and its alterations in the weeks before the attack.
A former Nissan service manager testified the bomb truck could be identified by its vehicle identification number stamped on the frame, which was recovered from the bombing debris.
A Tanzanian driver told the court he bought the truck in June 1998 for about $5,000 and sold it in July for a little more than $6,000 to Ghailani and Sheik Ahmed Salim Swedan, two men the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York has charged for roles in the Tanzania embassy bombing.
Swedan and Ghailani are among 13 fugitives in the case, along with Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, accused of orchestrating both embassy bombings. Swedan was identified on Monday as the man who also bought the truck used in the Kenya bombing.
The Tanzania truck sale was a cash transaction with no paperwork, Sultan said. He told the court he had met the buyers at Ghailani's home in Dar es Salaam and at the city's Al-Noor hotel to close the deal.
A Tanzanian welder testified that Swedan later hired him to alter the back of the Nissan truck, making containers for batteries and drilling holes to attach partitions, which Swedan told him were for storing fish.
FBI searches of Ghailani's residence turned up evidence including a bomb detonator and passport photos. One of those photos, shown to jurors, was of defendant K.K. Mohamed.
Jurors were also told that FBI agents found a Suzuki Samurai owned by Mohamed outside the house. Prosecutors have said this vehicle was used by the Tanzania embassy bombers to flee the scene.
Several prosecution witnesses offered the trial's first accounts of Mohamed's activities, saying they knew him personally, but a few found themselves unable to identify him in the crowded courtroom in Manhattan's U.S. District Courthouse.
Amina Rashid said Mohamed was among those who frequently visited the residence, where she cooked and cleaned. Other regular visitors included men she knew as "Fahad" and "Hussein," which prosecutors say are aliases for alleged Tanzania bombing conspirators Fahid Mohamed Ally Msalam and Mustafa Mohamed Fadhil, respectively, both fugitives.
Rashid stood and took her time looking around the court when asked if she saw K.K. Mohamed. She stared at the corner of the defense table where Mohamed sat, but she drew a blank.
Abdul Wahid Salim testified he let Mohamed live in his two-family dwelling in Dar es Salaam for several months in 1998 and that he had talked to Mohamed about his past. But Salim also failed to pick out Mohamed in the courtroom.
Later, an old schoolmate who testified that Mohamed pressed him to obtain government documents also failed to identify the defendant. Though Mohamed wears glasses in court and his beard has grown, his appearance has changed the least of the four defendants in the last two years.
Mohamed, a 27-year-old from Zanzibar, Tanzania, is the only defendant accused of a direct role in the Tanzania bombing.
Two prosecution witnesses did successfully point him out Wednesday.
Abdullah Hamisi testified that Mohamed used to come by his Dar es Salaam cafe regularly, along with two others prosecutors have indicted in the terror conspiracy.
Hamisi said Mohamed told him about military training in Afghanistan "for jihad," or holy war, in camps financed by bin Laden.
Two defendants, Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-'Owhali, a 24-year-old Saudi, and Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, a 36-year-old Jordanian, are charged with direct roles in the Kenya bombing.
The fourth defendant, naturalized American Wadih el Hage, is charged only in the terrorist conspiracy behind the embassy bombings.
Wednesday was the second consecutive day the jury heard testimony and saw evidence on the Tanzania bombing, including a 16-minute video of the bombing aftermath filmed by Tanzania police.
Testimony will resume on Monday.
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