Case outlined against alleged US Hamas fundraisers

Prosecutors outlined Friday their case against two men charged with aiding the Palestinian militant group Hamas, saying they plotted to arm a terrorism campaign with guns, money and fresh recruits. Muhammad Salah, 53, of Bridgeview, Illinois, and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 48, of Alexandria, Virginia, have pleaded not guilty to a racketeering indictment alleging they conspired to furnish cash and organizational aid to the Hamas terrorism campaign. As early as 1990, Salah bought airline tickets to Syria for two recruits who received bomb-making training from a "Hamas military operative who had fought in Afghanistan," the prosecutors alleged in a 54-page document. Prosecutors trace the story of Salah, from his travel to the West Bank - allegedly to deliver money to the Palestinian group's underground military organization - to his 1993 arrest and the five years he spent in an Israeli prison before returning to the Chicago area.