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Germany seeks terror suspect

Essabar is accused of founding a terrorist group  

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- German authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a 24-year-old Moroccan, accusing him of founding a terrorist group and mass murder in connection with the September 11 attacks.

The German federal prosecutor said Zakariya Essabar was suspected of working with some of the hijackers of the airliners in founding a terrorist group.

Specifically, he is accused of founding a terrorist group with Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah, all named by the U.S. Justice Department as suspected hijackers -- and Ramzi Omar bin al-Shibh, who is also being sought by German authorities for mass murder and was also associated with Atta.

Authorities said his whereabouts were unknown.

The German federal prosecutor's office said that Essabar had studied at the same university in Hamburg with Jarrah. He also shared an address with Atta and tried to travel to Florida, where some of the hijackers took flying lessons. His visa applications were rejected. Police found a photograph showing Essabar with Jarrah, al-Shehhi and bin al-Shibh. That photo, the prosecutor's office said, was found in the apartment of Said Bahaji, the other man wanted by German authorities, and was apparently taken at Bahaji's wedding.

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The prosecutor's office said that last December, Essabar had transferred roughly $600 to an account of bin al-Shibh's, but its purpose was unclear.

CNN's Susan Candiotti said: "We do know that since the very beginning of this investigation German authorities have been working closely with the FBI.

"A lot of federal agents have been sent to Germany trying to ferret out additional information about who might have been responsible."

On Thursday, British police said they were investigating more than 20 people at the request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of its hunt for those behind the suicide hijackings that killed more than 5,000 people.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Bunn, of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, told reporters the FBI had made more than 200 requests for help to British police and about 24 names were being checked out.

He said three people, of whom two are in custody in Britain, were believed to have "very strong links" to the hijackings and Osama bin Laden, whom U.S. authorities have identified as prime suspect in the hijackings that killed more than 5,000 people.

Bunn stressed that those named were not necessarily considered suspects in the attacks, but they were all "being looked at and are the subject of investigation."


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