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Bags Linked to Oklahoma Bombing Seized

April 21, 1995 GMT

ROME (AP) _ Three suitcases seized in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing probe were under guard today, but U.S. officials released the owner of the bags after questioning him in the United States.

The bags _ bulging with hardware, electrical equipment and a photo album containing pictures of missiles and weapons _ were seized by an FBI-led team at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci international airport Thursday. They were checked through to Amman, Jordan from a trip that began in Oklahoma City.

U.S. officials had identified their owner as a possible witness in the Wednesday car bombing.

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He was detained in London and sent back to the United States on Thursday, but was ``free to go″ today after being interrogated, said U.S. Justice Department spokesman John Russell.

``We let him go. He’s not in custody,″ Russell said. ``He’s free to go wherever he wants and I understand he’s going back to Oklahoma City.

Jordan today identified the man as a naturalized American citizen of Palestinian origin named Ibrahim Abdullah Hassan Ahmad, an electrical engineer born in the West Bank town of Jenin in 1963. He emigrated to the United States about 10 years ago, the report said.

Russell said the man was cooperative and may be questioned sometime again.

In Rome, an Alitalia spokeswoman said the man checked the bags in Chicago onto an Alitalia flight for Amman, Jordan, with a stop in Rome. But he missed the plane because he was being questioned by authorities, she said.

The suitcases contained no explosives, but did hold material described as useful in making bombs: electrical tape, silicon, a hammer, aluminum foil and tweezers, as well as a videocassette recorder.

Italian authorities were holding the bags until U.S. officials decide whether they want them turned over to FBI agents, said the magistrate handling the case, Maria Gloria Attanasio. No U.S. request had been made by late today.