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Thursday, May 27, 2004
Cleric's Arrest in U.K. May Have Hidden Implications In Berg SlayingThe U.S. has requested the extradition of a key figure linking the killer of Nicholas Berg and an al Qaeda terrorist who used Berg's computer password in the United States.
CNN has reported that the U.S. has requested that the U.K. extradite radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Mazri, leader of the Finsbury Park mosque in London.
Accused al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui attended Hamza's mosque, as did Richard Reid, the al Qaeda "shoe bomber." According to Newsweek (external link), Hamza headed a London cell of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror network.
Hamza's Web site was recently banned by U.K. authorities for publishing a link to the video of Nicholas Berg, an American civilian, being beheaded by a man who appears to be Zarqawi.
The arrest of Hamza has been rumored to be in the works for more than a year, according to a report on the extradition warrant published in the Daily Telegraph. The report said the extradition request was based on testimony related to James Ujaama, a U.S. citizen who has pleaded guilty to attempting to set up a terrorist cell working in Oregon and Washington state.
Hamza was not arrested at the time, although the UK has been fighting to strip him of his British citizenship. An Egyptian native, Hamza moved to the UK in 1981.
-- JM Berger
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