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Last Updated: Friday, 2 January, 2004, 17:02 GMT
Norway arrests 'Iraqi militant'
Mullah Krekar
Mullah Krekar: Terrorism charges were dropped last year
Norwegian police have arrested the founder of the Iraqi Islamic militant group Ansar al-Islam on fresh charges.

Mullah Krekar, an Iraqi Kurd, was arrested at his home in Oslo, where he has had refugee status since 1991.

US officials suspect that Ansar al-Islam has ties to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network and Mullah Krekar was also detained briefly last year.

His lawyer is quoted as saying the new charges relate to a plot to murder rivals in Iraq during 2000-2001.

Public prosecutor Erling Grimstad, quoted by the Associated Press, said the new charges were based on an investigation that started in February and were not terror-related.

Mullah Krekar has repeatedly denied links with al-Qaeda, although he has called Bin Laden "a good Muslim".

US aircraft targeted Ansar's camps in northern Iraq during the war and US officials have linked the group to the insurgency against coalition forces occupying Iraq.

Mr Grimstad said police would ask an Oslo court on Saturday to order that Mr Krekar be detained for four weeks while they prepare a case against him.

Norway is seeking to expel Mullah Krekar, who was deported from the Netherlands in January 2003.




SEE ALSO:
Norway charges suspected militant
21 Mar 03  |  Middle East
Norway to expel Mullah Krekar
19 Feb 03  |  Europe
Dutch deport 'Islamic militant'
14 Jan 03  |  Europe


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