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Using phone files, FBI links Illinois student to terrorists

NEW YORK -- FBI agents searching telephone records have linked a student living in central Illinois to the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon, according to newly unsealed court papers.

Ali Salem Kahlah Al-Marri, 36, is not charged with any role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

When questioned by federal agents after searching his West Peoria home Dec. 11, Al-Marri denied knowledge of terrorism, the documents say.

The Bradley University student was arrested Jan. 28 and is being held in New York, charged with unlawful possession of more than 15 credit cards found in his home on Dec. 11.

The basis for the suspicions is outlined in an affidavit accompanying an application for the Dec. 11 search warrant: Agents were seeking evidence of several crimes, including "material support for terrorism."

One document offers a detailed picture of how the alleged hijackers used a telephone number in the United Arab Emirates before Sept. 11 and says Al-Marri attempted to call the number three times after Sept. 11.

It said that a calling card "that had apparently been in the possession" of hijacker Mohamed Atta was used to make calls to the UAE number.

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