Feds Arrest Suspected Al-Qaida Cell Members in California

Affidavit says training was given to kill Americans at hospitals, grocery stores


SACRAMENTO (AP) - Federal authorities arrested a father and son after the younger man allegedly acknowledged that he attended an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan to learn "how to kill Americans," according to published reports.

Hamid Hayat and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, were arrested over the weekend on charges of lying to federal agents, FBI agent John Cauthen confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

The men, who are both U.S. citizens, both made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Tuesday and are being held in Sacramento County Jail.

According to prosecutors, Hamid Hayat trained to use explosives and other weapons, using photographs of President Bush as targets. The Sacramento Bee reported his age as 22; the Los Angeles Times said he is 23.

Umer Hayat was charged in the complaint with lying about his son's involvement and his own financing of the terror camp. His attorney, Johnny Griffin III, called the allegations "shocking" but said his client "is charged with nothing more than lying to an agent."

The detained men are both U.S. citizens. U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski denied a bail request for the elder Hayat, saying he was "a flight risk and a danger to the community."

"He just returned from Pakistan where he built a new home and contributed financial assistance to an al-Qaida sponsored program training his son and others to kill Americans whenever and wherever they can be found," the Bee quoted Nowinski as saying.

Hamid Hayat's attorney was not present for the court hearing, and Nowinski set a bail hearing for him on Friday.

Two other Lodi men, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Adil Khan, are being detained on immigration violations, Cauthen said. He said he couldn't give any further details, citing an ongoing investigation.

Ahmed is the current imam and Khan is the former imam of a mosque in Lodi, the Lodi News-Sentinel reported on its Web site. The men were detained after meeting separately with Umer Hayat on Saturday, the Bee reported.

The younger Hayat is accused of training to use explosives and other weapons while using photographs of President Bush as targets, according to the complaint.

Hamid Hayat, who was born in California, recently returned to the state from Pakistan. After first denying any link to terrorist camps, Hayat reportedly told agents that he attended al-Qaida camps in 2003 and 2004.

"Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission," according to the affidavit. "Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores."

FBI agents raided the Hayat home on Tuesday, family members told the Times. They seized videocassettes, photographs, fax machines, prayer books and other items.

Hamid Hayat was on the federal "no fly" list and FBI authorities in Sacramento were alerted by headquarters on May 29 that he was attempting to fly from Korea to San Francisco, the newspapers reported.

The plane was diverted to Japan, where Hayat was interviewed by the FBI and denied any connection to terrorism before being allowed to fly back to California.

On June 3, he was interviewed by agents in Sacramento and denied attending any terrorist camps. After a polygraph test the next day showed deception in his answers, Hayat acknowledged spending six months at a training camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004, the affidavit said.

Umer Hayat also at first denied that his son went to a terrorist camp but later admitted that he provided a $100 monthly allowance to help his son attend the camp, according to the affidavit.