July 06, 2007

Al Qaeda Leader Exchanged for British Hostage?

Is Shiek Abu Qatada, Europe's al Qaeda leader and one-time spiritual mentor to Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid going to be released as part of the deal worked out to free British hostage Alan Johnston? Please God, let this not be true!

WND:

In exchange for the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, Britain told the Hamas terror group through mediators it would free from jail an extremist sheik accused of serving as al-Qaida's spiritual adviser in Europe, Palestinian sources involved in the negotiations claimed to WND...

The Palestinian sources involved in the Johnston negotiations claimed the British government pledged through a third-party mediator to release Abu Qatada after six months so the release wouldn't appear connected to Johnston's freedom....

Qatada is wanted on terrorism charges in Algeria, the U.S., Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Jordan.

Nineteen videotapes featuring Qatada's sermons were found among the possessions of 9/11 ringleader Atta. A Paris-based terror cell accused of plotting to blow up the U.S. embassy in France in 2001 reportedly was headed by a follower of Qatada.

A British immigration appeals commission report stated it concluded Qatada was a "key UK figure" in al-Qaida related terror.

Giving in to ransom demands (which is a near certainty in the Alan Johnston case) is bad enough--it only encourages more hostage taking--but this, if true, would be much worse.

The most hopeful sign from the article is that WND's source for the article is a Palestinian. Let's just say there's a track record.

Hat tip to Israel Matzav who has more thoughts and commentary.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:46 AM | Comments |