Saturday, September 15, 2007

CAIR: Megahed "just happened to be in the car"

Remember the case of the two South Florida students who were detained near a military base in South Carolina after pipe bombs were found in their car?

Yesterday, the U.S. Attorney's Office released additional details on the contents of their car: pipes filled with fertilizer, Karo syrup, kitty litter, bullets and fuses, a laptop with a history of web searches on Jihadist martyrdom, Hamas and Qassam rockets and video instructions for turning a remote-control car into a detonator.

When federal agents searched the men's car, a Toyota Camry registered to Megahed's brother, Yahia Megahed, they found the stuffed pipes wrapped in plastic bags in the trunk alongside a 5-gallon container of gasoline... Potassium nitrate is a low-grade explosive otherwise used as fertilizer. Kitty litter bound the ingredients while syrup could add fuel.

"I think you can safely say it's a bomb," said Edward Dreizin, a New Jersey Institute of Technology chemical engineering professor.

Agents also found a box of bullets underneath the front passenger seat, where Megahed sat. On a laptop hastily unplugged, agents discovered sites that concerned them, including searches of Qassam rockets, weapons developed by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, often made with steel pipe, liquid sugar and potassium nitrate...

When the men were taken into custody, they were questioned separately. But when they were placed in the back of a squad car together, the conversation -- in Arabic -- was recorded by a hidden microphone. Megahed reportedly asked Mohamed what happened to the pipes, if they exploded.

As investigators researched the mens' backgrounds, they found more disturbing information. In July, Mohamed posted a YouTube video that teaches viewers how to use a remote-controlled toy car as a detonator. The video's narrator says that it was intended "to save one who wants to be a martyr for another day in battle."

Mohamed admitted that he created and uploaded the video, according to authorities.

Authorities were also concerned about Megahed's recent predilection for firearms. He recently bought a rifle, discussed purchasing a Beretta handgun, and joined a shooting range. The rifle had a telescopic sight, which is used to increase its effective range.

Megahed also possessed "multiple Egyptian passports" and visited a Sears photography center in July to acquire additional passport-sized photos. Megahed's passports reportedly offered different names. Megahed's recent travel, to Egypt, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria, also raised prosecutors' fears.

Ahmed Bedier, director of the Central Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was quick to distinguish between Megahed and Mohamed...

He defended Megahed, saying it appeared he "just happened to be in the car." But he had harsher words for Mohamed... If he could talk to Mohamed, Bedier said, "I'd say, 'Wake up!' "

He added, "Muslims don't get a second chance when they dabble with things like this. Not only will this have consequences on him, but it will have consequences on most of the Muslims in this country."

If I could talk to CAIR's Bedier, I'd say, "Wake up!" We know precisely what you're up to.

More information: Tampa Bay Online and St. Petersburg Times

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