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Terrorism Experts Say
bin Laden Almost Surely Involved

Dean Richard Ward
Richard H. Ward

Three terrorism experts at Sam Houston State University say they are convinced that the attacks on New York and Washington are the work of international terrorist Osama bin Laden.

"It was exceptionally well-planned and well carried out, and most likely the work of a Middle Eastern group," said Dick Ward, dean and director of the Criminal Justice Center. "We knew he (Osama bin Laden) was trying to plan something very large."

Sam Souryal, who came to the United States to become a professor of criminal justice after working as chief of police of Cairo, Egypt, agreed on bin Laden's apparent involvement, calling the events "unprecedented in the history of the world."

"I hope there will be a very firm reaction," said Souryal, who includes terrorism in his courses and who travels frequently to the Middle East.

Sean Hill, a doctoral student at Sam Houston State University, who worked for four years in a U. S. Marine anti-terrorism unit and who spent the past summer with the United Nations Terrorism Prevention Branch, said that Tuesday's attacks involved the kind of targets and planning that "relate automatically to Middle East terrorism."

"I think we will definitely find out for sure who is responsible," said Hill. "As for the details, they may not all come out immediately for security reasons."

Hill said that Osama bin Laden is a leader of a group known by the name Alqueda, or "The Base," and is a consortium of international terrorist groups. Osama bin Laden is the son of a Saudi Arabian construction company owner, and fought for the freedom of Afghanistan. Many of his co-terrorists are former Afghan freedom fighters as well, said Hill.

Ward also pointed out that events such as those that are occurring Tuesday would likely have been planned for a year or two, and might have involved what he called "sleeper cells" of terrorists who are known to live in the United States.

Ward founded the Office of International Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Hill also worked, and has continued work on terrorism with an informal terrorism research center at Sam Houston State.

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SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Sept. 11 2001
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