London: A Pakistani terror suspect, who was
given permission to stay in the UK on the ground that he might
face torture in his homeland, has been arrested on a US
warrant for his alleged role in an al-Qaeda bombing plot
against the New York subway and Manchester.
24-year-old Abid Naseer, who has been described by a
judge as "a serious threat to national security", was arrested
in the North East yesterday and brought to London to appear in
He is believed to have been living under a control order
after being detained last year in connection with an alleged
bomb plot in Manchester. Naseer was earlier not charged with
any offence and successfully resisted deportation because of
fears of ill-treatment by Pakistan`s ISI.
The US Department of Justice, however, said that
investigators on both sides of the Atlantic had found evidence
that linked the New York and Manchester terror cells.
Both groups had the same code, using wedding dates to
refer to attack timings, when communicating with al-Qaeda
leaders in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Naseer, who was enrolled at a college in Manchester, wrote
in an e-mail that he was planning a wedding between April 15
and 20 last year and hoped "many guests" would attend.
Mi5, Britain`s internal intelligence service, interpreted
the message as referring to the date for an attack on a target
in Manchester that would result in mass casualties.
According to a report in The Times, Najibullah Zazi, from
Colorado, who is in custody in the US for the subway plot,
e-mailed the same person in Pakistan in September 2009 to say
"the marriage is ready".
His plot was allegedly timed to coincide with the eighth
anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US.
There has also been reference in a New York indictment to
the role played by Rashid Rauf, from Birmingham, who has been
described as a leader of al-Qaeda`s "external operations"
programme. Rauf is believed to have been killed in a missile
strike from a US drone in Pakistan in 2008.
Also named is Tariq ur-Rehman, who was arrested with
Naseer in Manchester last year. Rehman returned voluntarily to
Pakistan after his release and is not in custody.
The US also named a Saudi, El Shukrijumah, 34, another
al-Qaeda leader who is the subject of a USD 5 million FBI
reward for information leading to his capture.
"These charges underscore the global nature of the
terrorist threat we face," David Kris, US Assistant Attorney
General for National Security, said. "They further reflect the
effectiveness of mutual investigations and cooperation with
our global partners in disrupting terrorism threats."
Naseer and Rehman were among 12 men arrested in Liverpool
and Manchester in April 2009 - ten of whom were Pakistanis on
The arrests were carried out at gunpoint in broad
daylight after being rushed forward when Bob Quick, then head
of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, was
photographed entering 10 Downing Street carrying a briefing
note about the operation.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that
following their extradition request, we are cooperating with
the US for the extradition of Abid Naseer. He is wanted there
on terrorism-related offences."