UK police arrest Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al Masri
Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al Masri has been arrested by police in London on an extradition warrant issued by the US government.
A report in The Sun on Thursday said he will be held on "terror" charges before being deported for trial in America.
Scotland Yard confirmed "a British citizen, aged 47, was arrested by MPS following receipt of a US request for his extradition" at approximately 0300 Thursday.
"The man was arrested at his home address in west London under an extradition warrant issued by Bow Street Magistrates Court," the statement continued.
Abu Hamza has openly praised the September 11 attacks and is also wanted in Yemen on "terror" charges.
He was a preacher at Finsbury Park mosque in north London, where authorities claimed he had recruited for al Qaeda.
He has urged young British Muslims to copy suicide bombers in Israel and his website directed visitors to images of American Nick Berg being beheaded in Iraq.
Abu Hamza was born as Mustafa Kamel Mustafa in Alexandria, Egypt, to middle-class parents. In 1979, he came to London with plans to become a civil engineer.
He married a western woman, Valerie Fleming, in 1981 and received his British citizenship. The couple divorced five years later.
In the early 1990s, he went to Afghanistan where Muslims were fighting Soviet occupation. There he sustained injuries to his hand and eye. He has also claimed to have worked in the Muslim community in Bosnia.
In 1999, Abu Hamza was questioned by Scotland Yard detectives on suspicion of "terrorism" offences in Yemen. He was held for several days before being released without charge. He has always maintained his innocence.
The Yemeni authorities had requested his arrest and extradition, claiming he was linked to plots to bomb targets there. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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