Naseer was one of 12 people arrested in a counterterrorism operation in April 2009, but all were subsequently released without charge. – File Photo by AP

LONDON: A suspected Pakistani al Qaeda operative accused of planning attacks in the United States, Britain and Norway was on Thursday extradited to the US, the interior ministry in London announced.

“We can confirm that today, January 3, Abid Naseer was extradited to America where he is accused of terrorism offences. His case is now a matter for the US authorities,” a statement from the Home Office said.

The 26-year-old is wanted by the US authorities over allegations that he provided material support to al Qaeda and conspired to use explosives.

He was named as a suspect in an alleged transatlantic plot directed by Pakistani-based al Qaeda groups, which included an attempt to bomb the New York subway in 2009.

Naseer was originally arrested in Britain along with 10 other Pakistani men in 2009 over a suspected bomb plot. But they were released without charge after prosecutors said there was not enough evidence, and ordered to be deported.

An immigration judge subsequently ruled that despite Naseer being “an al Qaeda operative who posed and still poses a serious threat”, he could not be returned to Pakistan as his safety could not be guaranteed.

Two months after his release, in July 2010, Naseer was arrested again on a US arrest warrant.

In January last year, a judge approved Naseer's extradition to the United States.

He appealed to the European Court of Human Rights but his case was thrown out in December.

Metropolitan Police officers on Thursday escorted Naseer from Belmarsh Prison to London's Luton Airport where he was taken into custody by US authorities.


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