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Published: Wednesday, 6/12/2002

Cedar Point bomb plot a hoax, U.S. officials say

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - Federal officials say claims a Detroit-area man made in grand jury testimony - that he was part of a terrorist group that planned to blow up locations in Michigan and Ohio, including Cedar Point amusement park - were lies.

Gussan Abraham Jarrar, 42, told a Detroit federal grand jury in August that he and seven other Detroit-area men planned to blow up the Mackinac Bridge, the federal building in Detroit, and Cedar Point in Sandusky, the Detroit News reported yesterday.

But federal authorities - who spent months investigating his claims - say he lied and that no such group exists. A grand jury in Detroit last week indicted Mr. Jarrar on three counts of perjury. Each charge is punishable by five years in prison.

Mr. Jarrar, who has been in the United States since 1979, was in custody at the Macomb County Jail on a drug charge in August, when he was called to testify before a grand jury in Detroit.

He claimed the group, which he said was called Whatever It Takes, was an anti-Israeli organization that planned to set off bombs across Michigan and at Cedar Point.

"They were going to start acting on behalf of the people back in the Middle East. Somebody has to listen," Mr. Jarrar told the grand jury. "There were plans to blow up a few structures in Detroit, you know, in the metro area, kind of set up cars with bombs in different locations."

He said the group, which he claimed had been active for at least two years, had purchased material to make bombs.

FBI Special Agent Greg Suhajda said the bureau notified Cedar Point and the Mackinac Bridge Authority of Mr. Jarrar's claims last summer. Agents interviewed the seven local men named by Mr. Jarrar, and none had any connection to any terrorist plot. All have been cleared.

Cedar Point spokeswoman Janice Witherow said the park's security staff discussed the threats and talked about what to do if something happened but did not make any staffing changes.


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