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Mystery at Goose Creek: Who are the accused Pipe Bomb Boys? Update: Yahia Megahed's Hi5 profile is gone

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 12, 2007 01:51 PM

6:20pm Eastern. Eeenteresting. Via Dan Riehl, Yahia Megahed’s Hi5 profile has now been removed:

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Last weekend, I noted the arrest of Yousef Megahed, 21, and Ahmed Mohamed, 24, in the vicinity of the Naval Weapons Station, located in Goose Creek, South Carolina. National media scrutiny since the men were charged with possession of pipe bombs has been scant. Some MSM reports read like CAIR press releases. The AP dispatch carried in the Miami Herald concludes: “Some have suggested the men were targeted because of their ethnicity. Mohamed is a native of Kuwait and Megahed is Egyptian. Both are in the country legally. The arrests were ‘absolutely wrong,’ said Chaudhry Sadiq, director of the South Carolina chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”

Fortunately, local Florida media and bloggers have kept a close eye. And there have been some very newsworthy developments. The Tampa Tribune reports today that the FBI has raided a home in connection with the accused Pipe Bomb Boys:

The FBI searched a Temple Terrace home Saturday morning in connection with the two University of South Florida students jailed in South Carolina on charges of possessing a pipe bomb.

Authorities had a search warrant for 12402 Pampas Place, FBI special agent Dave Couvertier said. He would not say what authorities were looking for, what was removed or how the house is connected to the two students.

The house is owned by Noor and Ana Salhab, according to the Hillsborough County property appraiser’s Web site.

Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said late Saturday he and the family of one of the students, Youssef Megahed, were unaware of the search warrant.

Bedier spoke to Noor Salhab, who is a Realtor and owns the home. Salhab told Bedier the Pampas Place home has been for sale for a year. Bedier said Salhab said the house is rented to college students until it’s sold.

A friend of the other jailed student is a tenant of the house, Salhab told Bedier. Ahmed Mohamed was looking to move and was invited by the friend to move in. Salhab told Bedier he never met Mohamed.

Mohamed had moved some of his belongings to the house but never fully moved in or paid anything, Salhab told Bedier. Salhab told Bedier he didn’t know Mohamed had moved things in until the search warrant by the FBI.

Okay, now what the Tampa Tribune doesn’t tell you is that 12402 Pampas Place just happens to be the address of a home that had been rented previously to WISE (World and Islam Studies Enterprise), one of two groups founded by convicted jihad supporter Sami Al-Arian, who was a professor at University of South Florida–the same university that Megahed and Mohamed attend. Dan Riehl has much more. Tampa’s Fox 13 shows investigators removing PVC piping from the home:

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Tipster Bill Warner has been investigating the Pampas Place home for years and writes that one of the names tied to the address is FBI Most Wanted terrorist Ramadan Shallah.

And more:

Records show the owner of that house is Sameeh Hammoudeh, a co-defendant in the trial of Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian is the former USF professor who was acquitted on most charges of funding terror-related organizations. He pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Investigators also searched a car Saturday that records showed is registered to Noor Salhab’s son, Ghassan Salhab. Neighbors say he and two other men are the current residents of the house that was raided.

FOX 13 did find a connection between the men arrested in South Carolina, and the men who live in raided house. Back in July, Tampa police cited Mohamed and another man named Ahmad Ishtay for shooting squirrels in a park. Ishtay confirmed to a FOX 13 reporter that he is one of Ghassan Salhab’s roommates. He said in published reports that Mohamed and Megahed, the arrested USF students, sometimes came over.

Shooting squirrels. Nice.

Early on, you’ll remember lots of downplaying of the contents of Megahed and Mohamed’s car trunk as “fireworks.” But note what Megahed’s family members themselves say about that:

Initial news reports said the men told deputies they had fireworks in the trunk. The Megahed family said they weren’t aware of that, and that the family did not have fireworks because of subdivision rules.

The FBI has declined to comment on the case. The agency won’t say when tests results of the material from the trunk will be released.

Curiouser and curiouser.

***

Bryan Preston and I are looking into a tip that adds a bit more info about Megahed and Mohamed. First, here’s a photo of the Megahed family carried in the St. Petersburg Times:

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At social network Hi5, there’s a page for Yahia Megahed here.

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This appears to be the same Yahia Megahed, older brother of pipe bomb suspect Youssef, in the family photo. Yahia Megahed’s hometown is listed as Egypt. His number one interest is “ISLAM.” Among his Hi5 friends is an “Ahmed,” who appears to be the same Ahmed Mohamed charged in the Goose Creek explosives case.

If investigators aren’t already exploring this social network, I’m sure they will be.

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