Bail at $1M in Videotaped Bridge Case
by Brian Witte
BALTIMORE — A man described as a high-ranking Hamas operative was freed Monday on a $1 million bond, but must appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago probing the Palestinian militant group's financing.
Ismael Selim Elbarasse was released during a closed-door detention hearing in federal court in Baltimore, said Vickie LeDuc, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office. His attorney said he was traveling to his home in Annandale, Va.
Elbarasse had been arrested after officers pulled him over Aug. 20 just west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after spotting his wife filming the structure with a video camera.
Neither Elbarasse nor his wife was charged with any wrongdoing. However, Maryland authorities held him after discovering a material witness warrant had been issued for him in Illinois the same day.
Federal officials in Chicago want Elbarasse to appear before a grand jury probing the financing of Hamas, which the government has designated a terrorist organization.
"He's going home, and I suspect what he and his family will do is stop keeping photo albums of their vacations," said Elbarasse's attorney, Stanley Cohen. A phone call to Elbarasse's home was unanswered Monday afternoon.
Cohen said Elbarasse's friends put up property to post the bond.
No date has been announced for Elbarasse to appear.
Court documents allege Elbarasse and defendant Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook — considered one of the highest-ranking leaders internationally of the Palestinian extremist group — shared a Virginia bank account used to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hamas. [...]
What's really cute about it is that the name of this guy's lawyer is Stanley Cohen.
Meanwhile, I'm waiting to hear from my former classmate who lives in Ber-Sheba with his beautiful wife and a sweet little baby daughter. I hope they are alive, healthy and not too upset about today's bus explosions, for which Hamas has claimed responsibility and which killed at least 15 people.