Here’s the very latest on the mystery at Goose Creek:
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry stated Sunday that Egyptian officials are to meet with the two Egyptian students charged with transporting explosives in the United States. The students were arrested on August 4 in South Carolina. A federal grand jury in Tampa, Florida has indicted them on charges of illegally transporting explosives over state lines.
“Officials from the Egyptian embassy in Washington will meet the two students at their place of detention on Wednesday,” the ministry said Sunday.
“The Foreign Ministry will spare no efforts in defending the interests of Egyptians abroad as long as they respect the laws of the countries they are in.”
Egypt’s official news agency MENA reported Saturday that Washington denied Cairo’s request to meet with the two men.
The two University of South Florida, Ahmed Abdel Latif Sherif and Youssef Samir Megahed were arrested after being stopped for speeding in Goose Creek, South Carolina and police say they found “pipe bombs” in their car.
Sherif is a graduate engineering student and teaching assistant at the University of South Florida in Tampa, while Megahed is a civil engineering student.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit met Sunday with Ahmed’s father, the ministry added.
Megahed’s father, who lives in the U.S., said Saturday he and his son have cooperated with federal investigators, but the situation is worsening.
“They want us to say what they want to hear,” the father told The Tampa Tribune Saturday. “They want the stories they have in mind. It’s all in their imagination.”
FYI, I’ve created a separate category for prior Goose Creek coverage. “All in their imagination?” I’ll keep posting. You decide.
Over the long holiday weekend, you may have missed the Investigative Project’s report alleging that one of the suspect’s had a terror past in Egypt:
Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 24, an engineering graduate student and teaching assistant at the Tampa-based university, faces terrorism charges for teaching and demonstrating how to use the explosives.
According to officials familiar with the case, Mohamed has been arrested previously in Egypt on terrorism-related charges. He is said to have produced an Internet video showing how to build a remote-controlled car bomb.
You may recall that when the indictments came down last week, one federal law enforcement official told the press:
Agents think civil engineering student Ahmed Mohamed exchanged information over the Internet about how to miniaturize bombs, said a federal law enforcement official speaking anonymously because the investigation remains secret.
Over at the Tampa Tribune, Megahed’s family attacks the feds. The article concludes:
FBI agents tell Megahed they’ll keep him in jail a long time or deport him to Egypt or send him to Guantanamo Bay, Samir said. “They keep trying to push him to say things.”
Samir has been in touch with the father of his son’s co-defendant. After the arrest, Mohamed’s father called Samir from his home in Egypt to exchange information, and the two realized they studied together at Cairo University in the early 1970s while earning their engineering degrees.
Samir said he had not been in touch with Mohamed’s father in 30 years, and that their acquaintance is a coincidence. Since they’ve reconnected, Mohamed’s father has depended on Samir as a connection to his own son as he waits for a resolution to the case.
Now Samir has to figure out how to relay what Mohamed told him in the jail.
“How can I tell a father, ‘You are not going to see your son again’? It’s like you sent your son to the war, and he dies there.”
4:00pm Eastern update. State authorities in SC hand over the case to the feds…
With a federal indictment in place, state charges will be dismissed against two Egyptian-born students who were stopped last month with what authorities said were pipe bombs, a prosecutor said Tuesday. “I plan to dismiss the charges in favor of federal prosecution,” said Scarlett Wilson, state prosecutor for Charleston and Berkeley counties.
Stay tuned for a hearing expected this week…and the inevitable CAIR fist-pounding.