Militant cleric had links with Al Qaeda: FBI
LONDON: Abu Hamza, the militant, London-based Muslim cleric, maintained close contact with the leadership of al-Qa’eda during the years when it operated a worldwide terrorist network from Afghanistan, according to FBI files.
Documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph state that Hamza, the former imam of Finsbury Park mosque, north London, dealt personally with Abu Zubeidah, Osama bin Laden’s director of operations.
Zubeidah, a Palestinian who is now in US custody, communicated bin Laden’s instructions and messages from his hideout in Afghanistan to al-Qa’eda cells around the world.
Hamza had the power to refer recruits to Zubeidah for “leadership training” in Afghan terror camps.
The cleric, who lost his hands and an eye in an explosion in Afghanistan, also built a relationship with the Taliban foreign minister and sent him a laptop computer for his personal use.
The growing body of evidence about Hamza’s role in the Islamist terrorist network questions the view long held by the authorities that he is an inflammatory but essentially harmless demagogue.
British security agencies monitored his activities during the 1990s but decided - against the wishes of overseas agencies - not to take action against him. —LDT