US hands over terror suspect to Germany

Ahmad Wali Siddiqui was captured by US troops in Afghanistan in July 2010.

Updated: Apr 22, 2011, 13:29 PM IST

Berlin: The United States handed over to Germany on Thursday a suspected Islamic militant whose information provided to US interrogators in Afghanistan led authorities across the world to issue terror warnings for Europe last year, prosecutors said.

Ahmad Wali Siddiqui, a German national of Afghan descent, was captured by US troops in Afghanistan in July 2010 and while in custody provided details on alleged plots linked to al Qaeda supposedly targeting European cities.

Siddiqui is accused of belonging to a foreign terrorist group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan which aims at creating an Islamic state, or caliphate, across Central Asia.

Germany`s federal prosecutors said the 36-year-old suspect was handed over on Thursday to German police at the US air base in Ramstein.

Prosecutors say Siddiqui left Germany in March 2009 to seek paramilitary training in Pakistan`s lawless border region before fighting NATO troops in Afghanistan, where he was captured.

Before going to Pakistan, Siddiqui and several other suspects met at Hamburg`s al-Quds mosque, the prayer house that had served as gathering point for some of the September 11 attackers before they moved to the United States to attend flight schools in 2000, German intelligence officials have said. Authorities shut down the mosque last year.

Intelligence sources said Siddiqui`s disclosures to US interrogators were a key factor leading the US, Japan and other countries to issue travel warnings for Europe. France and Britain were among many European countries that stepped up their terrorism alert vigilance.

Intelligence officials also said Siddiqui was a friend of Mounir el Motassadeq, who was convicted by a German court in 2006 of being an accessory to the murder of the 246 passengers and crew on the four jetliners used in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, who also frequented the al-Quds mosque.

Bureau Report