Local News

Investigators Look Closely At Raleigh's Connection To London Bombings

Posted July 16, 2005

— News on the other side of the world that Magdy el-Nashar was arrested is bringing attention from all over the world and causing surprise and shock to many.

Anyone with information about el-Nashar in the Raleigh area is working with the FBI. North Carolina State officials were gathering old records and previous landlords have handed over information.

At N.C. State, campus police are stationed outside the Chemical Engineering Department because of all the media attention. Alumni are trading e-mail to see if anyone remembers a man named Magdy el-Nashar.

And Tonya Hubert is dealing with the fact that her new apartment is on news reports around the world. El-Nashar -- who is now in custody in Egypt and is suspected of helping make the bombs that killed over 50 people and injured more than 700 others -- lived in Hubert's apartment in 2000.

El-Nashar reportedly denies any involvement in the attacks. Investigators, however, have found explosives in his British apartment and his phone number was reportedly found stored in the bus bomber's cell phone.

When Hubert moved in the apartment, she said she noticed faint Arabic writing on the surface of her door. Because of the week's news events, she wanted to know what it meant.

"When my boyfriend saw it, we wondered," Hubert said. "We didn't know if it was good or bad."

WRAL had it translated and it says, "In the name of God the Compassionate. And God is great. Thanks be to God." The translator said it is is common for devout Muslims to publicly show their faith and doubts it is related in any way to the bombings.

Even if it's not related, FBI investigators want to know more about el-Nashar's time in the U.S.

"I think U.S. intelligence wants to know as much as possible about the link to the bombing," said N.C. State political science professor Bill Boettcher.

Because el-Nashar is suspected of building the bombs, Boettcher said the arrest could help in other cases.

"It could be an important break for ties to other bombings, past or future."

Hani Chohan, of the Islamic Center, worries about the investigation's impact on Muslims. He said the bombings and the suspects should not be tied to the religion.

"We're in pain like everyone else," Chohan said. "There's just no way of justifying these attacks on innocent civilians."


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