Radical Cleric Charged With Soliciting Murder

Radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri appeared in a British court on Tuesday and was charged with encouraging his followers to kill non-Muslims, several news agencies reported on Tuesday. Al-Masri, 46, is former head cleric at London's Finsbury Park mosque, which has been linked to terror suspects including alleged Sept. 11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

Out of the 16-count indictment, Al-Masri faces 10 charges of soliciting to murder, four charges of using threatening, abusive or insulting behavior with intent to stir up racial hatred, one charge of possessing threatening, abusive or insulting sound recordings and one charge of possessing a terrorist document. These charges pre-empt the extradition charges filed by the U.S.

The charges in the U.K. pre-empt his extradition to the United States to face more serious terrorism related charges. Al Masri has been in custody in Britain since last May when an indictment filed in the Southern District of New York charged al Masri with allegedly trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, involvement in hostage-taking in Yemen and funding terrorism training in Afghanistan.

These charges against al Masri appear to represent recognition in the U.K. that the cleric is more involved in terrorist operations than previously accepted by British authorities. U.S and French counter-terrorist officials have complained for years that, despite al Masri's known links to Islamic terrorists, he was allowed to preach his extremist views and use his mosque to recruit young men to the Jihad.

INVESTIGATIONS

Spain

7 Terror Suspects Arrested In Raids Across Spain

Spanish officials say seven suspected Islamic militants arrested in raids across the country Monday and Tuesday were plotting to bomb the National Court building in Madrid. (VOA)

Spain: Terror Suspects Targeted Court

Aradical Muslim cell broken up by Spanish police had been plotting to bomb the National Court, a hub of Spain's investigations of Islamic terrorism, the interior minister said Tuesday.(AP)

Spain Ignored Terror Attack Warning - Report

Spanish intelligence agents warned police last November that an Algerian now identified as a ringleader of the Madrid train bombings was preparing an attack, a newspaper claimed today. (The Scotsman)

U.S.

2-Fingerprint Border ID System Called Inadequate

Terrorists who alter their fingerprints have about an even chance of slipping past U.S. border watch-list checks because the government is using a two-fingerprint system instead of one that relies on all 10 prints, a lawmaker said in a letter he made public yesterday to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. (Washington Post)

U.S. Rejects Pleas for Muslim Charity List

The U.S. government rejected a request Monday from Muslim groups to draw up a list of Islamic charities to which they could donate without being suspected of terrorist ties. (AP)

Russia

'New Stage' of Fear For Chechen Women

Russian Forces Suspected in Abductions. (Washington Post)

IRAQ NEWS

Aid Worker Kidnapped in Iraq

The head of British charity Care International UK in Iraq has been kidnapped on her way to work. (BBC)

Saddam Aide in Exile Heads List of Most Wanted Rebels

A former Baathist based in Syria has been identified as the Mr Big behind terrorism. (The Observer)

Report: Bush Blocked Plan for Muslim Iraq Force

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