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UAE freezes bank accounts

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MANAMA, Bahrain (Knight Ridder) — The United Arab Emirates on Friday ordered its financial institutions to freeze the accounts of people and institutions the United States says were involved in terrorism, including Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.

U.S. intelligence agencies have traced some money from bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates to bin Laden associates in Hamburg, Germany. The transfers, said a U.S. intelligence official, helped persuade the U.A.E. to freeze suspected al-Qaida-related bank accounts.

Other countries of the Persian Gulf region could soon follow suit. Their cooperation would provide valuable links in tracing the money trail of terrorist groups.