A Canadian man accused of organising a plot backed by al-Qa'ida to blow up the British High Commission and US embassy in Singapore has been seized by the American authorities and is being questioned at a secret location.
It was revealed yesterday that Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, 20, s being held at a military base in the north-east of the US as a material witness.
Heng-Chee Chan, Singapore's ambassador to the US, told The Washington Post that Mr Jabarah, using the pseudonym "Sammy", was the ringleader of a plot to blow up missions belonging to Britain, the US, Israel and Australia.
Authorities said the plot was organised by the militant group Jemmah Islamiah but had logistical support from al-Qa'ida. More than a dozen alleged members of Jemmah Islamiah were arrested last December, but Mr Jabarah escaped.
He was seized and interrogated in Oman before being handed over to the Canadian authorities and then to the US.
Canadian officials said Mr Jabarah had been born in Kuwait, but was brought up in St Catharines, Ontario, and was a Canadian citizen.
Mr Jabarah had "significant operational authority" in the aborted attacks, officials said, although he is not believed to be a leader in al-Qa'ida. He is, however, said to have provided officials with information about al-Qa'ida training camps.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said they were aware of the reports of Mr Jabarah's arrest but could not comment. They refused to say whether security at the High Commission had been increased as a result of the revelations.
"We are satisfied that security is commensurate with the current situation," the spokesman said. No one from the High Commission in Singapore was available to comment.
Mr Chan said Mr Jabarah had worked with another alleged terrorist, "Mike". He said: "Sammy was leading and directing the plan and Mike was teaching the Singaporeans how to construct bombs. They travelled to and from Singapore on different dates to escape detection.
"This is a trans-national network. They work across borders. We believe the al-Qa'ida network works in this way – they contact local groups that have their own objectives and causes. What they add is another element – they upgrade the skills and knowledge and technology of the local group."
Phil Gibson, a spokesman for Canada's intelligence agency, said the investigation of al-Qa'ida was "extensive, intricate and ongoing".
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