Pakistani student Britain couldn't deport was 'involved in planning attack in US'
A Pakistani student who could not be deported from Britian has been arrested after US investigators claimed he was involved in an al-Qaeda plot to blow up the New York Metro.
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
Published: 8:22PM BST 07 Jul 2010
Abid Naseer is said to have stockpiled the same bomb-making materials as an al-Qaeda cell planning suicide bomb attacks on the New York Metro and to have been in touch with the same senior al-Qaeda commanders.
The US Department of Justice (USDoJ) said the American plot was directly related to a scheme by al-Qaeda plotters in Pakistan to use Western operatives to attack a target in the United Kingdom.
Naseer was arrested in Manchester in April last year along with 11 others, accused of plotting to blow up shopping centres, but never charged. The Special Immigration and Appeals Commission ruled in May that he was connected to al-Qaeda but could not be deported back to Pakistan on human rights grounds.
Naseer, 24, was subsequently released and is thought to have been put under a control order and electronically tagged. He was arrested in Middlesborough yesterday afternoon on a US extradition warrant, sources said, and accused of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a firearm in New York or elsewhere.
According to a US statement, large quantities of flour and oil were found when Naseers address in Cheetham Hill, Manchester was raided by police.
The operation, code named Pathway, had to be brought forward 24 hours after Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick was photographed entering Downing Street to brief the Prime Minister with details of the raids visible.
Two members of the US cell, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty to planning to conduct suicide bombings in New York using improvised explosive devices made from supplies such as hydrogen peroxide, acetone, flour and oil ingredients similar to those used on July 7 five years ago. A third man is awaiting trial.
In other addresses, Greater Manchester Police allegedly found surveillance photograph of public areas in Manchester thought to be the Arndale shopping centre and maps of Manchesters city centre posted on the wall with one of the locations from the surveillance photographs highlighted.
Another student called Tariq ur-Rehman who returned to Pakistan after he was released from British custody, was allegedly recruited at the same time. The US Department of Justice said ur-Rehman was not in custody.
A US indictment says Naseer and ur-Rehman were members of a terrorist cell coordinated by Rashid Rauf – a British al-Qaeda commander who was also involved in the July 7 attacks of 2005.
Rauf is thought to have been killed in Pakistan by a missile from a US drone in November 2008 but the plot was also allegedly directed by Saleh al-Somali, another al-Qaeda commander who was killed by a drone attack last year and by Adnan el-Shukrijumah, known as Hamad, a 34-year-old Saudi citizen with a $5m price on his head from the FBI.
All three were said by the US to be leaders of al-Qaedas external operations programme.
The students were allegedly recruited in Peshawar, Pakistan in November 2008 along with the leader of the US plot, Najibullah Zazi.
After returning to Britain, Naseer allegedly sent emails to the same account that a man calling himself Sohaib, but also known as Ahmad and Zahid, was using to communicate with the US cell on behalf of al-Somali.
The Daily Telegraph previously reported that MI5 tipped off the FBI about the US plot and published the emails that used the names of girls as code words for bomb-making ingredients and a wedding to refer to the planned attack between April 15 and 20 last year.
Zazi had agreed a similar code, the Americans say, and emailed Sohaib that the marriage is ready just before he left Colorado for New York City in early September last year.
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