Blind Jersey City sheik suspected in '93 WTC bombing dies in prison


His son Ammar told the newswire he had been informed of his father's death by a United States representative, who called the family in Egypt, where they live.

The "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman has died in prison aged 78, according to USA officials. He and his followers were not directly charged with the 1993 attack, which killed six and injured more than 1,000 others, but were found guilty after a nine-month trial of conspiring with the perpetrators.

The assassin has said that Abdel-Rahman urged him to kill Kahane.

Abdel-Rahman, a blind sheik from Egypt, spread his poison of jihadist and anti-American ideology for decades.

While Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and its allies, the group renounced violence in 2003 and committed itself to engaging in the political process following the ouster of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, whom they attempted to assassinate in 1995. The sheikh said he was hung upside-down from the ceiling, beaten with sticks and given electric shocks while held but he was eventually acquitted and went into self-imposed exile in 1990. He came to the 1990 on a tourist visa issued by the US embassy in Sudan, and gained permanent legal resident status in 1991.

Abdel-Rahman has been in federal custody ever since.

Abdel-Rahman continued his embrace of radical Islam and terrorism while in the U.S.

He also plotted to blow up the Holland Lincoln tunnels as well as other NY landmarks, like the United Nations and the NY headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Abdel-Rahman also preached his jihadi rhetoric at mosques in Jersey City, N.J., where he lived for a time.

Abdel-Rahman was also linked to the 1993 explosion in the World Trade Center. A year before his al Qaeda followers pulled off the most destructive assault on US soil, the September 11, 2001, attacks, Osama bin Laden had pledged a jihad to free Abdel-Rahman from prison.