Most wanted terrorists


WASHINGTON — President Bush Wednesday publicized the names and photos of the 22 "most wanted terrorists" — a list topped by Osama bin Laden — as the U.S. government offered rewards of up to $5 million for information on each fugitive.

"We list their names, we publicize their pictures, we rob them of their secrecy," Bush said at FBI headquarters as he unveiled what he called a new tactic in the war against terrorism.

"These 22 individuals do not account for all of the terrorist activity in the world, but they’re among the most dangerous — the leaders and key supporters, the planners and the strategists," Bush said.

"They must be found. They will be stopped. And they will be punished," he said.

All 22 men are Middle Eastern natives and fugitives being sought by U.S. law enforcement officials for being named in one of five indictments handed up by grand juries for terrorist acts against the United States dating back to 1985.

"They have blood on their hands from September 11th and other acts against America in Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen," said Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Most on the list are believed to be connected to bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, and some are thought to have played key roles in the Sept. 11 attacks — most notably bin Laden and his top lieutenants, Ayman al-Zawahri and Muhammed Atef.

While the whereabouts of many of those listed are unknown, law enforcement officials said they do not believe any of them are in the United States. At least seven of them are believed to be in Afghanistan and three in Lebanon.

Thirteen, or more than half, of those on the list were indicted in the truck bombings of the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998, that killed 11 U.S. nationals and hundreds of Africans.

In addition to bin Laden, that 1998 indictment names al-Zawahri, a doctor and Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader who is also wanted by Interpol on charges that he masterminded several terrorist operations in Egypt, including the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Also named in that indictment is Atef, a former police official, a key military strategist and training director of al-Qaida who became related to bin Laden when bin Laden’s son married Atef’s daughter.

With the lure of a cash reward from the State Department — to be advertised around the world on the Web, television, posters, leaflets, even matchbooks — officials said they hope someone will provide the tip that will lead to their capture.

The rewards are paid for information leading to the arrest or conviction of terrorists or their supporters, and the United States has paid more than $8 million in 22 cases in the past seven years in the program. Law enforcement officials stressed this is not a bounty program seeking suspected terrorists dead or alive.

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