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Authorities make terror arrests in Buffalo

FBI officers gather at a residence in Lackawanna, New York, Friday.
FBI officers gather at a residence in Lackawanna, New York, Friday.  

BUFFALO, New York (CNN) -- Law enforcement officials rounded up five men suspected of terrorist activity -- some of whom may have been trained by al Qaeda operatives -- in a Buffalo suburb Friday night, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

In Lackawanna, a city of 20,000 people just south of Buffalo, FBI agents raided an apartment building, arresting suspects and carrying off boxes of evidence. Mayor John Kuryak said he had been informed about six months ago that federal officials were investigating possible terrorists in his city.

Kuryak said his first reaction upon hearing the news was "disbelief."

"We just want to reassure everybody in the city that they're safe," he said.

The sources told CNN that five individuals -- all U.S. citizens of Yemeni origin -- were in custody. Four were being questioned at the FBI office in Buffalo, while a fifth was being held at a detention facility about an hour outside of the city, sources said.

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The suspects could not be described as members of an active al Qaeda cell and did not appear to be under direct al Qaeda control, the sources said. However, at least some of them have received training from al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, sources said.

Justice Department officials refused to comment on the operation.

The bust comes on the heels of the capture of Ramzi Binalshibh, one of the al Qaeda operatives most wanted by the U.S. government.

The Yemeni-born Binalshibh is in the hands of Pakistani authorities, U.S. government officials told CNN. (Full story)

Binalshibh recently acknowledged playing a role in the planning of the September 11 terrorist hijackings. In an audio message played Thursday on the Arabic news network Al-Jazeera, Binalshibh said he had hoped to be one of the hijackers but could not obtain an entry visa into the United States. (Full story)




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