Paper: 'Congratulatory' terror attacks callers among those held

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Among almost 1,000 people being held in the United States in connection with the hijacked-airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are people who made congratulatory telephone calls minutes later, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions.
 
Although transcripts of the phone calls have not been made available, the Times reports that officials have said some of the calls were "congratulatory, even gloating."

These suspected associates of Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization are among 977 people held on various charges related to the September 11 attacks, which killed almost 5,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The paper said it had been unable to determine whether those who made the jubilant calls were participants in the hijack plot or merely rejoicing over the attacks.

FBI agents intercepted telephone calls, moved in and made arrests, holding the bulk of those arrested on immigration or criminal violations and a smaller group on material witness warrants, the newspaper reported.

Their identities and those of most of the people being held have not been released by the Justice Department.

The newspaper said officials would not say how many people were detained through the telephone intercepts, nor would they discuss evidence that any of them proved to be members of the group organized by bin Laden, Washington's prime suspect in the attacks.

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