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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Egyptian 'terrorist' arrested in Baku
Azerbaijan National Assembly
The US has linked Azerbaijan to al-Qaeda
By Chloe Arnold in Baku

An Egyptian national suspected of involvement in international terrorism has been handed over to Egypt by authorities in Azerbaijan following a request by the Egyptian intelligence services.

Media reports say the man, who has not been named, has been linked to the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September, although the National Security Ministry has refused to confirm this.

A plane chartered by Egyptian authorities arrived in Baku late on Thursday evening to fly the suspect back to Cairo.

President Haydar Aliyev
President Aliyev has condemned the terrorist attacks
The Azeri President, Heydar Aliyev, has strongly condemned the attacks and told the US Secretary of State Colin Powell this week his country absolutely supported America's war on terrorism.

Terrorist links

But the United States Congress has identified Azerbaijan, the predominantly Muslim former Soviet republic, as one of 34 countries with links to the al-Qaeda network of Osama Bin Laden, America's chief suspect in the attacks.

Press reports say the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which has close ties to al-Qaeda, has been active in Azerbaijan in recent years.

One of the men arrested in connection with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was a former chief of Egyptian Islamic Jihad's Baku operations according to the reports.

In August the Azeri Security Ministry also arrested members of another fundamentalist Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which it claimed was acting against Azerbaijan's national security.

See also:

28 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Azerbaijan
28 Sep 01 | Europe
Timeline: Azerbaijan
25 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Azerbaijan warns of fighting with Armenia
17 Aug 01 | Media reports
Baku vice or virtue?
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