Alleged Threat Sparks New Florida Search
F O R T L A U D E R D A L E, Fla., Sept. 16 — The FBI and police in South Florida are looking for six men who were allegedly overheard threatening in Arabic to "blow things up."
Royal Palm Beach Gardens Police asked Broward County law enforcement officials this morning to put out a "be on the lookout for" warning, known as a BOLO.
The six men, apparently of Middle Eastern descent, were driving a green GMC cab truck and a purple Ford pick up. Officials said they were already on high alert at the Fort Lauderdale airport, so there no need for additional precautions.
An FBI official told ABCNEWS they did not know the whereabouts of the men, and that they were investigating the person who supplied the information, whose identity was not disclosed.
Three Held for Remarks Want Names Cleared
D A V I E, Fla., Sept. 16 — The three Muslim medical students detained after a woman said they were discussing terror plans told reporters they want to clear their names and study to become doctors, but a Miami hospital where they were supposed to train no longer wants them.
The head of Larkin Community Hospital in Miami said Sunday he had received more than 200 e-mails after the incident, some threatening.
"Obviously, nothing is final," said Dr. Jack Michel, president and chief executive officer of Larkin. "Our primary objective is to take care of patients. I don't know how that could be done with all this media coverage."
He said the medical school where the men are studying, Ross University, had agreed to transfer them to a different training program.
Kambiz Butt, 25, said Sunday that he and Ayman Gheith, 27, and Omar Choudhary, 23, want to continue their education in the United States.
"We're medical students. We are not terrorists," Butt said, flanked by Gheith and Choudhary. "Our concern in life is to become doctors. We want to help people. We do not want to hurt."
Butt, the only one of the students to speak at a news conference, said they were worried about their futures but have no resentment toward the woman who told authorities she overheard them discussing terrorist plans Thursday at a restaurant in Calhoun, Ga. They were detained for 17 hours, but were not charged with any crimes.
"We're in a state of shock and we are scared," Butt said. "But I'd like to tell the American people that we are not a threat."
The woman who called authorities, Eunice Stone of Cartersville, Ga., said she heard the students talking about blowing up buildings and laughing about the Sept. 11 attacks. She also said she heard the students saying that a terrorist event was looming on Sept. 13.
"Not once did we mention 9/11. Not once did we mention anything about 9/13, nor did we joke about anything of that sort," Butt said. "She was probably just eavesdropping on our conversation and might have heard a few key words that she misconstrued."
Butt said he believes Stone was attempting to be "a patriot for America."
Stone stood by her report of what she heard and said she would do the same thing again.
"I am not a racist, and I am not ignorant," she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I was just trying to do what's best."
Brett Newkirk, one of four attorneys representing the students, called the situation "an incident of misunderstanding."