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US Has Control of Binalshibh in Pakistan -Official
Mon Sep 16,10:46 AM ET
By Charles Aldinger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has been given control of captured al Qaeda suspect Ramzi Binalshibh in Pakistan but he has not been moved from the region, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

"We have control of him. We're talking to him," the official told Reuters. Binalshibh, who was captured last week in Karachi, is accused of playing a key role in planning the Sept. 11 attacks on America.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the United States had taken control of the suspect "several days" ago but that final jurisdiction in the case remained to be determined.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider said in Karachi on Monday that his country was prepared to extradite Binalshibh to the United States after completing its own investigations and legal formalities.

Officials in Pakistan said Binalshibh was being held in a secret, high-security location in the country.

The senior U.S. official would not say what U.S. agency had control of Binalshibh but said that he was not under control of the American military and denied reports that he had been transferred to a Navy warship off Pakistan.

Binalshibh is said to have been a prominent member of an al Qaeda cell based in the German city of Hamburg and is accused of having played an important role in planning the attacks on the United States along with another member of that cell, Mohamed Atta, the suspected ringleader of the hijackers.


The German government had issued an international arrest warrant for the Yemeni national, but said on Sunday it was prepared to stand aside in favor of Washington.

Binalshibh is one of the most important al Qaeda members to be taken into custody over the past year, although he was not as high in the organization as Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in Pakistan in March.

Binalshibh was captured in the sprawling port city of Karachi after a three-hour shootout on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

If Zubaydah's case is anything to go by, Binalshibh is likely to be spirited out of the country under a thick cloak of secrecy. Zubaydah was handed over to U.S. authorities shortly after his arrest in the city of Faisalabad and is now being interrogated at a secret location outside the United States.

"Pakistan is obliged under international law to hand over the suspect to the country where they are wanted," Interior Minister Haider told reporters in Karachi.

"But there is a legal procedure for such an extradition and that would be followed."

Haider retracted an earlier interior ministry statement that Pakistan was holding a second high-profile al Qaeda suspect after a series of raids in Karachi last week in which a total of 12 people were arrested.

"We have completed our investigations," he said. "The only high profile suspect is Ramzi (Binalshibh) and the rest are his Yemeni guards. There is no other high-profile suspect with us."

Man why is it so slow in here today?
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