October 24, 2002
LAST ORDERS:Bin Laden 'ambassador' arrested (Daniel McGrory, Richard Ford and Michael Evans, October 25, 2002, Times of London)
BRITAIN'S most wanted man, Abu Qatada, described as Osama bin Laden's "ambassador" in Europe, has been seized in an armed raid on his hideout in London.
David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, would say only that a suspect had been arrested on Wednesday under the antiterrorist laws. Security sources last night named the suspect as Abu Qatada.
The radical 42-year-old Muslim cleric, whose real name is Sheikh Omar Mahmood Abu Omar, has been accused by police in eight countries of being a pivotal figure in the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
He was arrested at a council house in Bermondsey, South London, in a joint operation by Scotland Yard Anti-Terrorist Branch detectives and MI5 agents. He is now in Belmarsh top security prison.
His arrest is a major success for Britain and will be welcomed by the White House and European leaders who have been shown secret intelligence on Abu Qatada's role in bin Laden's network. He is alleged to have recruited figures like Zacharias Moussaoui, the "20th hijacker" and the "shoe bomber", Richard Reid.
We're going to have to decimate the crow population if they can tie this guy to Moussaoui. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 24, 2002 8:37 PM