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Sources: Bin Laden charged with inciting violence against U.S. citizens

August 25, 1998
Web posted at: 1:05 a.m. EDT (0505 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Law enforcement sources tell CNN that Osama bin Laden has been charged in a sealed indictment with inciting violence against United States citizens prior to the recent bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Also, the New York federal grand jury investigating Osama bin Laden was presented with evidence of financial links between bin Laden and an Islamic group based in Queens, sources said Monday.

Al Mahajirou, a Queens affiliate of a London based group by the same name, is believed to have been involved in money transfers with bin Laden.

The grand jury has been looking into links to various groups in New York, New Jersey and Michigan.

The United States accuses bin Laden of masterminding the bombing of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The East African attacks prompted the United States to retaliate Thursday by firing missiles at a training camp for militants linked to bin Laden in eastern Afghanistan and at a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan.

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Once on the same side

Experts say bin Laden, the millionaire son of a Saudi construction magnate, has used his money to fund attacks against the United States. The U.S. State Department calls bin Laden "one of the most significant sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world today."

In the 1980s, the United States and bin Laden were on the same side against the former Soviet Union.

Experts say bin Laden saw Washington as much of an infidel as Moscow but waited to do battle with the United States until the failure of the Soviet Union's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan and its attempt to establish a communist government there.

Bin Laden is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan, communicating his hatred for the United States in a series of fatwas, or religious edicts, faxed to the outside world.

He says American soldiers stationed in his homeland are desecrating Muslim holy sites by their very presence and that the United States has turned Arab countries into client states tolerant of what he sees as the United States' lopsided support for Israel.

"We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it," read a fatwa issued in February.

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