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Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 04:04 GMT 05:04 UK
UK to extradite Paris terror suspect
French police patrol rail station
A terror campaign targeted Paris in 1995
Britain has agreed to extradite to France a suspected member of an extremist Islamic network thought to be behind bombings in the Paris subway in 1995, France's Justice Ministry said late on Monday.

This [decision] is a concrete example of the strengthening of cooperation among European partners in the fight against terrorism

French statement
Rachid Ramda, a suspected member of Algeria's Armed Islamic Group (GIA) which is fighting the government in Algeria, is believed to have been a banker for the network.

The GIA took responsibility for the 1995 attacks, which left 11 people dead and injured over 100.

Britain's Home Office - which on Tuesday confirmed the report - has agreed to hand over Mr Ramda in connection with an investigation by French officials into attacks on the Paris metro in October 1995, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Three warrants

The statement said Britain's decision to extradite Rachid Ramda indicated "the strengthening of cooperation among European partners in the fight against terrorism".

French prosecutors have issued three international arrest warrants for Mr Ramda.

Britain, where he was taken into custody in 1997, had previously refused to extradite him.

Mr Ramda can appeal against the extradition decision.

Two other suspects in the attacks - alleged bomb expert Smain Ait Belkacem and alleged network coordinator Boualem Bensaid - were convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in September 1999.

They were convicted of "criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise" - a broad charge used by France to prosecute suspected terrorists.

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