Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

US captures bin Laden's son-in-law

The US says it has captured Osama bin Laden's spokesman and son-in-law in Jordan (AP)

Osama bin Laden's spokesman and son-in-law has been captured by the United States, officials said, in what a senior congressman called a "very significant victory" in the fight against al Qaida.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is expected to be in US federal court in New York on Friday in an initial hearing to face terror charges, according to a law enforcement official.

Peter King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, credited the CIA and FBI with catching al Qaida propagandist Abu Ghaith in Jordan within the last week. He said the capture was confirmed to him by US law enforcement officials.

A Jordanian security official confirmed that Abu Ghaith was handed over last week to US law enforcement officials under both nations' extradition treaty.

"Definitely, one by one, we are getting the top echelons of al Qaida," said Mr King, a Republican. "I give the (Obama) administration credit for this: it's steady and it's unrelenting and it's very successful."

Abu Ghaith became an international name in late 2001 when he appeared on pan-Arab satellite television urging Muslims everywhere to fight the United States and warning of more attacks similar to those of September 11.

In one video, he was sitting with bin Laden in front of a rock face in Afghanistan. A teacher and mosque preacher in Kuwait, he was stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship after September 11, 2001.

He is identified as a major al Qaida core official by the New America Foundation think tank in Washington. Mr King said Abu Ghaith was involved in the planning of the 9/11 attacks against the World Trade Centre and Pentagon.

Tom Lynch, a research fellow at the National Defence University in Washington, described Abu Ghaith as one of a small handful of senior al Qaida leaders "capable of getting the old band back together and postured for a round of real serious international terror".

"His capture and extradition not only allows the US to hold - and perhaps try - a reputed al Qaida core survivor, further tarnishing the AQ core brand, but it also points to the dangers for those few remaining al Qaida core refugees," Mr Lynch said.

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