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Yahya Wehelie, American man stuck in Egypt due to no-fly list

Yahya Wehelie, an American from Virginia, has been stuck in Egypt for the last six weeks, living in a cheap hotel and surviving on fast food, because his name is on a no-fly list.

Yahya Wehelie, from Fairfax, Virginia, speaks, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 16, 2010. He has been stuck in Egypt for the last six weeks, living in a cheap hotel and surviving on fast food. He was told his name was on a U.S. no-fly list because of people he met during a trip to Yemen.

Ben Curtis/AP

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A Virginia man, stuck in Egypt for the last six weeks, living in a cheap hotel and surviving on fast food, said Wednesday that he was told his name was on a U.S. no-fly list because of people he met during a trip to Yemen.

Yahya Wehelie, 26, who was born in Fairfax, Virginia, to Somali parents was returning from 18 months studying in Yemen, when Egyptian authorities stopped him from boarding his flight to New York saying the FBI wanted to speak with him.

Wehelie said he was then told his name was on a no-fly list and he now cannot board a U.S. airline or enter American airspace.

U.S. authorities have put Americans studying in Yemen under heavy scrutiny after a number of failed terrorist attacks were linked back to Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen.

FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the bureau does not comment on whether a particular person is on a watch list. While Bresson did not discuss the FBI's interest in Wehelie, he did note several recent high-profile terror plots, including an attempted car bombing and a failed Christmas Day jetliner bombing, as reminders of the need to remain vigilant.

Wehelie, however, said he had no dealings with the terrorist organization while in Yemen and does not even see himself as a particularly observant Muslim.

"It's amazing how the U.S. government can do something like this," he told The Associated Press Wednesday from his ramshackle hotel in downtown Cairo.

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