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Saturday, 18 December, 1999, 06:14 GMT
Pakistan hands over Jordan terror suspect

The group is suspected of planning attacks in Jordan Attacks are allegedly being planned in Jordan during millennium celebrations

A Jordanian national suspected of involvement in a plot to attack Western targets in Jordan is being questioned in Amman after being extradited from Pakistan.

The man, identified by Pakistani officials as Khalil Deek, is suspected of being the leader of a group alleged to be planning attacks on tourist areas and US installations over the millennium weekend.

He was arrested from his home in Peshawar, in Pakistan's northwest, and sent back to Jordan on Thursday. He was immediately placed in police custody.

We have completely thwarted the group's plan
Jordanian official
Jordan requested the extradition earlier this month, saying the suspect was linked to Saudi militant Osama bin Laden.

They said he held a US passport and was wanted in that country.

Earlier this week, Jordanian police arrested 13 suspects - 11 Jordanians, one Iraqi and an Algerian - who they said were planning a terror campaign.

The group was alleged to have received military training in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's Taleban movement denied training any militants linked to Mr Bin Laden. However, it said the suspects may have been trained during the fight to end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

US targets

Jordanian officials said that by arresting the group, they had pre-empted a number of planned attacks on US targets.

Possible Osama bin Laden link Possible Osama bin Laden link
"We have completely thwarted the group's plan, which was at its initial stage, and envisaged terrorist actions against different Jordanian and non-Jordanian targets in the kingdom," a senior official told the French news agency AFP.

Deek and the 13 other suspects will now be referred to Jordan's state security court.

The "terror campaign" was said to be in its early stages, with members of the group surveying possible targets.

British link

On Thursday, Jordanian officials announced that the group was funded by a Jordanian, Omar Abu Omar, a close aide of Osama bin Laden who is based in the UK.

Mr Omar, who is also known as Abu Kutada, was convicted in absentia by a Jordanian court, for being involved in a series of attacks in the kingdom.

The US State Department has issued a warning to Americans travelling overseas during the millennium weekend, saying that anti-American terrorists could target US installations and locations where millennium celebrations are to be held.

US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were hit by bomb attacks in 1998 which killed more than 200 people.

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See also:
16 Dec 99 |  Middle East
Jordan 'militants' linked to UK
15 Dec 99 |  Middle East
Jordan arrests 'Afghan-trained militants'
06 Aug 99 |  South Asia
Osama bin Laden: America's most wanted
15 Dec 99 |  Americas
US warns Taleban over 'terror threat'
12 Nov 99 |  Americas
FBI reorganises to combat terror
09 Oct 99 |  Africa
US embassy bombing suspect in court
14 Dec 99 |  Americas
'Terror threat' triggered US warning

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