Damascus: Syrian authorities have reportedly released the alleged terrorist mastermind behind the July 7 London bombings, that killed 52 people and injured over 700 in 2005.
Abu Musab al-Suri was held in Syria for six years after being captured by the CIA in 2005 and transported to the country of his birth under its controversial extraordinary rendition programme.
But he is now said to have been released as a warning to the US and Britain about the consequences of their opposition for Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime, The Telegraph reports.
Al-Suri, also known as Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, was al Qaeda’s operations chief in Europe and was accused of planning the London bombings, in which four British-born terrorists detonated three bombs on the Underground and another on a bus.
Al-Suri , a mechanical engineer, is also wanted in Spain in connection with the Madrid train bombings in 2004, which left 191 dead, and for links to an attack on the Paris Metro in 1995.
According to the paper, quoting local sources, Syrian opposition website Sooryoon.net revealed al-Suri’s release last week.
“The timing of his release raises a lot of questions and observers believe the release may indicate the regime is stopping security co-operation with the Americans and thus releasing all those Washington considers a threat to its interests,” it said.
The release comes as Assad is facing huge international pressure after he responded to peaceful anti-government protests that began in March 2011 with overwhelming military force leaving thousands of civilians dead and wounded.
Meanwhile, Al-Suri’s wife Helena, who converted to Islam and lives in Qatar with al-Suri’s four children, said, she has not heard anything official or unofficial since her husband disappeared in 2004.