Hudson Tunnel Bomb Plot Suspect Out on $667 Bail

Assem Hammoud let of of Lebanese jail

An alleged terrorist, arrested in Lebanon three years ago for allegedly plotting with al-Qaida to blow up the Hudson River train tunnels, revealed yesterday on Arabic TV that he was free on $667 bail.

Powerless to extradite Assem Hammoud, U.S. officials could only watch as Hammoud was released from a Beirut jail in June -- after 26 months in solitary confinement. While a verdict is still pending, Hammoud was released because he had spent the maximum time in custody on charges of plotting terrorism.

Hammoud went to trial in 2006 after Lebanese authorities said they found maps and bombing plans on his personal computer. They also say he confessed to the plot and swore allegiance to al-Qaida.

It's believed that Hammoud was working in concert with seven others – two of whom are in custody elsewhere -- to blow up the tunnels in October or November 2006.

"This was a serious plot with catastrophic potential," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the New York Daily News. "Under the circumstances, we would want any suspects held for trial."

If convicted, Hammoud could be sentenced to up to five years in prison, according to Lebanese judicial officials speaking under the condition of anonymity.

During his interview with Al Arabiya, the Dubai-based network that scored president Obama's first post-inauguration interview, Hammoud rejected the charges against him and said he doesn't "hate the American people."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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