Jordan seeks the extradition of an extremist suspect from Britain

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Jordan is seeking the extradition from Britain of an alleged sponsor of an extremist group believed to be linked to Osama bin Laden, a well-informed official said Tuesday.

Jordan is seeking the extradition from Britain of an alleged sponsor of an extremist group believed to be linked to Osama bin Laden, a well-informed official said Tuesday.

"There are consultations with the British government for the hand over of Omar Abu Omar," said the official, who insisted on speaking on condition of anonymity.

Abu Omar, 40, is suspected of financing the extremist cell that was arrested in Jordan last week on suspicion of planning to attack U.S. targets and tourist sites in the kingdom during the millennium celebrations. The group comprises of 12 Jordanians, one Iraqi and an Algerian.

The U.S. government said the group is linked to bin Laden, the Saudi extremist wanted for last year's bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania which killed 224 people. Jordanian officials have not said the group is affiliated to bin Laden, but they do say Abu Omar, also known as Abu Kutadah, is close to the Saudi, who lives in Afghanistan.

The alleged leader of the group, Khalil Deek, a Jordanian, was extradited to Amman last week from Pakistan.

British Ambassador Christopher Battiscombe was quoted in The Jordan Times on Tuesday as saying London would cooperate with Jordan over Abu Omar.

"We are ready to provide facilities to Jordanian authorities, if they requested so," he said.

Jordanian security officials say Abu Omar teaches Islamic theology at a London mosque.

Last year, a Jordanian court sentenced him in absentia to life in prison for a series of explosions, including one in the car park of an Amman hotel on April 30, 1998.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning to Americans last weekend. The warning said anti-American terrorists could target locations where there would be large 2000 celebrations.

Jordanian government officials say that, according to preliminary investigations, the group planned to attack a settlement on the bank of the Jordan River, where John the Baptist is believed to have baptized Jesus, and Mount Nebo, where tradition says that Moses saw the promised land.

The 14 persons detained so far have been referred to Jordan's military prosecutor for further interrogation. An official said he expected them to be charged in the State Security Court "within two weeks."

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