Image: Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary
AP file
Khalid Al-Jawary, shown in 2007, wanted to be deported to Jordan, where his family lives, but the country apparently would not allow him entry.
updated 3/4/2009 3:27:44 PM ET 2009-03-04T20:27:44

A recently released terrorist convicted of placing three powerful car bombs in New York City in 1973 has been deported to Sudan.

Khalid Al-Jawary, 63, was flown out of Denver International Airport on Thursday and arrived Tuesday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, said Carl Rusnok, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman.

Details of his deportation were released after Al-Jawary's federal escorts had safely left the volatile country that was once the site of a bloody Black September attack in the '70s.

Al-Jawary ended up in Sudan after Algeria initially agreed to accept him but then reversed course, setting off a scramble to find a country that would take the aging terrorist. It was unclear why Algeria ultimately decided against taking Al-Jawary.

Al-Jawary wanted to be deported to Jordan, where his family lives, but the country apparently would not allow him. Federal officials said he had dual citizenship with Jordan and Iraq.

Al-Jawary's deportation to Sudan comes at a sensitive time. On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Al-Jawary was released last week and placed in immigration officials' custody after serving about half of his 30-year sentence.

Identity mystery
Al-Jawary was said to be a member of Black September, a Palestinian militant group that targeted world leaders during the 1970s.

He was convicted in 1993 of planting the New York City bombs, which failed to detonate. He has always denied involvement in the bomb plot, and his identity has always been a mystery.

Al-Jawary claims his real name is Khaled Mohammed El-Jassem, and says he's a 61-year-old Palestinian refugee. The federal Bureau of Prisons had listed his age as 63.

But Al-Jawary had many aliases and was an expert in forging passports before he was finally captured in 1991 while passing through Rome, where British intelligence spotted him. A hardened terrorist, he never cracked in prison and refused to give up information that might have shortened his time behind bars.

He once bragged in a jailhouse interview with an Arabic-language publication that he would eventually disclose his many secrets. "Some day I will leave here and say many things," he told London's Al-Majallah newspaper in 1993.

An Associated Press investigation revealed that Al-Jawary may have been involved in a murderous letter-bombing campaign, the bombing of a 1974 TWA flight that killed 88 people and had links to a dangerous terrorist named Abu Ibrahim, who is possibly hiding out in Iraq.

The FBI was investigating whether Al-Jawary helped carry out other terrorist attacks, but brought no charges before his deportation.

Refuge in Sudan
In the end, the shadowy Al-Jawary found a country that wasn't shy about taking high-profile terrorists.

Bin Laden moved to Sudan in the early 1990s and began building his al-Qaida infrastructure that included a mix of business and terrorist enterprises. Bin Laden was expelled in 1996 under pressure from the U.S. and moved his operations to Afghanistan.

French counterterrorism agents, along with the help of the CIA, nabbed Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who was known as "Carlos the Jackal," in 1994 in Sudan and brought him out of the country. He is serving a life sentence in a prison outside Paris.

In a sworn statement to immigration officials in 2000, Al-Jawary admitted he belonged to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

More on: Black September | Carlos the Jackal

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