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CNN.com - Embassy bombing defendant linked to bin Laden - February 14, 2001
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Embassy bombing defendant linked to bin Laden
A prosecution witness says defendant Wadih el Hage helped purchase a plane his boss Osama bin Laden wanted to use to ship Stinger missiles to Sudan.  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Two witnesses on Wednesday linked Wadih el Hage, one of four defendants standing trial for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, to Osama bin Laden, pegged by federal prosecutors as the mastermind of the deadly attacks and leader of a decade-long conspiracy to kill Americans.

The first witness placed el Hage at the center of bin Laden's effort to buy a private plane to ship Stinger anti-aircraft missiles from Pakistan to his Sudan headquarters in the early 1990s. The missiles are the same kind the United States provided to anti-Soviet Muslim fighters in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Bin Laden and many of his followers were veterans of that conflict.

The witness, Essam Al-Ridi, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Egypt, said he met bin Laden and el Hage in the early 1980s in Peshawar, a Pakistani border town where the resistance fighters, called mujahadeen, trained.

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