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CBS: Jewish neighborhoods original target in 1993 plot

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Abdul Rahman Yasin, a conspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, says Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn -- not the twin towers -- were the bombers' original target.

Yasin, 40, fled to Iraq after the bombing and was jailed there in 1994. He told the CBS News program "60 Minutes" that he is now sorry for his role in the plot.

The interview, scheduled for broadcast Sunday evening, took place at an Iraqi installation near Baghdad, according to CBS.

Yasin said that the mastermind of the 1993 attack, Ramzi Yousef, "told me, 'I want to blow up Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.'" But after scouting the Crown Heights and Williamsburg neighborhoods, Yousef decided that targeting the twin towers would be more efficient because "the majority of people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews," Yasin said.

The February 26, 1993, attack killed six people, wounded more than 1,000 and caused more than $1 billion in property damage. Yousef and five other men who carried out the attack were convicted on terrorism charges.

Yousef, who is serving a life sentence, was also convicted for his role in a scheme to blow up passenger jets over the Pacific Ocean.

CBS reports that U.S. officials did not know that Jewish neighborhoods were the original target of Yousef's terrorist cell.

After the September 11 attacks brought down the World Trade Center towers, Yasin, an Iraqi national, was placed on the U.S. list of most wanted terrorists. A $25 million reward has been offered for his capture.

He told CBS that he met the other participants in the 1993 bombing while living in an apartment complex in Jersey City, New Jersey. They talked him into participating in the plot by telling him he needed to avenge Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War and send a message about the suffering of the Palestinians, he said.

Yasin also said that he was picked up by the FBI a few days after the 1993 bombing, but was released after he gave agents names and addresses. He told CBS that he was even driven home in an FBI car.

According to Yasin, Yousef made the bomb used in the attack and said he learned how to make bombs in a terrorist camp in Peshawar, Pakistan.




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