06/22/2006

Federal officials conducting terrorism investigation in Miami

The Associated Press

MIAMI- FBI agents investigating terrorism-related activities were conducting a number of raids and had made several arrests Thursday, the agency's director said.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told CNN that it was an ongoing operation and that more details would be released Friday. Local television was reporting that agents were raiding a warehouse.

"There is no imminent threat to Miami or any other area because of these operations," said Richard Kolko, spokesman for FBI headquarters in Washington. He declined further comment.

South Florida has been linked to several terrorism investigations in the past. Several of the Sept. 11 hijackers lived and trained in the area, including ringleader Mohamed Atta.

Jose Padilla, a former resident once accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive bomb in the country, is charged in Miami with being part of a North American terror support cell to al-Qaida and other violent Islamic extremist organizations. He has been in federal custody since 2002 and is scheduled for trial in September.

Padilla was originally designated an "enemy combatant" and held for 3 1/2 years without charge by the Bush administration shortly after his May 2002 arrest at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Several plots by Cuban-Americans against the government of Fidel Castro have also been based in Miami.

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