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Friday, 21 September, 2001, 00:25 GMT 01:25 UK
Morocco deports 'Bin Laden ally'
Algerian army
Algeria struggles to control Islamic dissent
By BBC North Africa correspondent
David Bamford

Morocco has deported to France an Algerian national whom Algeria has accused of having links with an Islamist faction supported by Osama Bin Laden.

Osama Bin Laden
Kherbane is thought to have fought alongside Bin Laden
The Moroccan security services said that Kamar Eddine Kherbane had been expelled following questioning about allegations of arms smuggling to Algeria.

He was due to be deported to Britain where he has been living as a political refugee for some years.

However the authorities seem to have put Mr Kherbane on a plane bound for Paris.

Extradition request

By doing so the Moroccan Government has ignored an extradition request by the Algerian authorities who stated that Mr Kherbane was a wanted criminal and was linked to Bin Laden.

That is not clear, but it is known that Mr Kherbane was a founder member of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in Algeria as well as being a former airforce pilot and a former Islamist fighter in Afghanistan at the same time as Bin Laden.

A spokesperson for the British embassy in Rabat said that Mr Kherbane was free to return to Britain.

He had been visiting his imprisoned brother-in-law in Morocco on a legitimate British travel document though contrary to reports he does not have a British passport.

These developments come soon after Algeria said they were furnishing the American Government with the names of Algerians abroad they believed were linked to Bin Laden.

algerian timeline puffobx
See also:

20 Sep 01 | Middle East
Algeria 'gives US terror list'
18 Sep 01 | Middle East
Algeria tackles Islamic militants
20 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Algeria
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