A UK-based al-Qa'ida operative planned a bomb attack on Manchester city centre as part of a plot to mount terrorist attacks in the UK, Norway and the US, a court heard today.
Abid Naseer was part of an al-Qa'ida cell operating in the UK in which the participants planned a terrorist attack in Manchester, most probably in the area of St Ann's Square or the Arndale Shopping Centre, City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London was told today.
The 24-year-old faces extradition to the US to stand trial on allegations of providing material support to al- Qa'ida, conspiring to provide material support to al-Qa'ida and conspiracy to use a destructive device.
David Perry QC, for the US authorities, said: "The allegation is that the defendant was an al-Qa'ida operative who participated in a conspiracy to attack western interests by the use of explosive devices.
"A wide international conspiracy was conceived by the al-Qaida external operations leader in Pakistan and the conspiracy extended to planning attacks in the UK, Norway and the United States of America.
"The conduct alleged against this particular defendant arises from his alleged involvement between September 2008 and April 2009 in an al-Qa'ida cell operating in the UK in which the participants conspired to conduct a terrorist attack between April 15 and April 20 2009 in Manchester City Centre most likely in the vicinity of St Ann's Square or the Arndale shopping centre."
Bearded Naseer who has previously denied the allegations spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth when he appeared in court.
The Pakistani national was one of 12 men arrested in counter terrorism raids in north west England last year over a suspected bomb plot.
He was released without charge and in May won the right to stay in Britain when a judge ruled his safety could not be guaranteed if he returned to Pakistan.
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