US hands suspected Islamic militant to Germany

21st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

US authorities handed over to Germany Thursday an alleged Islamic militant held for nine months in Afghanistan whose tips helped spark a travel warning in Europe late last year.

Ahmed Wali Siddiqui, a 36-year-old German of Afghan descent, arrived at the US air base at Ramstein in western Germany where police took him into custody on the basis of a warrant issued last April.

"The accused is strongly suspected of being a member of the foreign terrorist organisation 'Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan' (IMU)," federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Western powers say the group aims to establish Islamic Sharia law in central Asia and is waging a guerrilla campaign against security forces in Pakistan and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The prosecutor's office said Siddiqui was believed to have left Germany in March 2009 to attend an IMU militant camp on the restive border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and to have undergone weapons and explosives training.

"Since then, he is believed to have taken part in combat for the IMU," it said.

US forces detained Siddiqui in July 2010 in Kabul and held him at Bagram air base outside the Afghan capital.

Remarks he made during interrogation reportedly prompted US authorities to warn in October of an Al-Qaeda plot to carry out attacks in Britain, France and Germany.

German authorities long sought his extradition and were allowed to question him at Bagram on several occasions.

According to German media, Siddiqui met with Al-Qaeda's third in command, Sheikh Yunis al-Mauretani, who initiated him into a plot to carry out attacks in Europe similar to those in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 in which 10 gunmen killed 166 people and injured more than 300.

© 2011 AFP

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