Christian Action Network

Daily Terrorism News; WebPage @ www.ChristianAction.Org

Qaeda says willing to consider prisoner swap

(AFP) Al-Qaeda said in a video posted on the Internet on Friday that it was ready to consider exchanges of prisoners with Western nations and singled out a radical cleric under arrest in Britain. 

The cleric, Abu Qatada, has offered to play a role in helping to secure the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who went missing in Gaza City on March 12 and is the longest-held Westerner in the Gaza Strip. 

“Qaeda al-Jihad Organisation in Khorasan (Afghanistan) announces its readiness to receive any Muslim captive exchanged with any party by any party, whether he is from those with whom the prisons of the states of the Cross are choked, or one of those imprisoned in other states of infidelity and apostasy,” Abu Laith al-Libi, “the Libyan”, said in the video. 

“Foremost among these captives is the virtuous sheikh and caller Abu Qatada al-Filistini, who is being kept in one of the prisons of Britain,” said Laith. 

The authenticity of the video could not be verified. 

Abu Qatada, once described as the spiritual head of the Al-Qaeda network in Europe, was arrested in Britain in August 2005 as part of a crackdown on Islamist extremism after 56 people were killed in London suicide bombings. 

He is currently fighting extradition to Jordan. 

On May 16 the radical Palestinian cleric proposed that he go to Gaza to try to secure the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who went missing in Gaza City on March 12 and is the longest-held Westerner in the Gaza Strip. 

“I am fully prepared to travel to Gaza, with a delegation from the BBC, to meet our Palestinian brothers with a view to obtaining the release” of Johnston, he said in a message sent to the London-based Islamic Observatory. 

The Army of Islam, a Palestinian extremist group, earlier claimed on May 9 that it had snatched Johnston, and demanded that Britain free all Muslim prisoners, singling out Abu Qatada. 

Despite diplomatic efforts by London, worldwide protests and regular appeals for his release from Palestinian officials, the reporter has not been seen in public since his disappearance. 

“We have been in discussions with Abu Qatada’s lawyer to see whether he would be willing to make a humanitarian appeal for Alan Johnston’s safe release,” a Foreign Office spokesman said on May 17, the journalist’s 45th birthday. 

“We welcome any assistance from any individual who might be in a position to influence the release of Alan Johnston,” the BBC said in a statement.


May 26, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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