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Three Egyptian Students Jailed In Iowa

GENERIC USA, Security, Terrorism, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Threat, September 11, America
CBS/AP
Nine of 11 Egyptian exchange students who recently entered the United States and failed to appear at their college program were in custody Saturday after three were arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, officials said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents tracked the three students from New York to San Francisco to Des Moines. They were arrested late Friday without incident on administrative immigration violations.

They were Ahmed Refaat Saad El Moghazi El Laket, age 19; Mohamed Ibrahim El Sayed El Moghazy, age 20; and Moustafa Wagdy Moustafa El Gafary, age 18.

Three other students had been found Thursday.

The students were to attend a monthlong program at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. A group of 17 students arrived in New York on July 29. Six reported to Bozeman on time.

After Montana State repeatedly tried to contact the missing students, it notified Department of Homeland Security officials and registered the Egyptians as no-shows in a system to track foreign students developed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

None of the students is considered a terrorism risk. Immigration officials the last two Egyptian students are still being sought.

"The FBI remains extremely interested in interviewing," the other missing Egyptian students, said Paul McCabe, a spokesman for the FBI in Minneapolis, earlier this week.

The U.S. government tightened the student visa process after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. One of the hijackers involved in the attacks had arrived in the United States on a student visa, and immigration officials approved student visas for two other hijackers after they entered the country. A fourth attended flight training school without a student visa.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com