Man Convicted in World Trade Center Bombing Dies in Prison

The 'blind sheikh' Omar Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2017 12:47 PM CST
'Blind Sheikh' Behind World Trade Center Bombing Dies
This April 6, 1993 file photo shows Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman in New York.   (AP Photo/ Mark Lennihan, file)

The man known as the "blind sheikh," who was convicted of plotting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist attacks in New York City, died Saturday in a North Carolina jail, CBS News reports. According to the AP, Omar Abdel-Rahman, born in Egypt, had been blind since he was an infant due to childhood diabetes. He became a leader of the militant group Gamaa Islamiya and, Reuters reports, was the "face of radical Islam" during the 80s and 90s. Despite being on a State Department list of people with terror connections, Rahman arrived in the US on a tourist visa in 1990 then received a Green Card and permanent resident status. The CIA may have pulled some strings for him.

In 1993, a truck bomb exploded under the World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring a thousand more. Rahman was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for planning that attack and an expanded "war of urban terrorism" that would include the bombings of New York City bridges and the UN. Rahman sought to end the US' support of Israel and Egypt. He continued as a leader for radical Muslims while in prison. Osama bin Laden had even vowed to free him at one point. Officials say Rahman died of natural causes following a history of coronary artery disease and diabetes. He was 78. (More Omar Abdel Rahman stories.)

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