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Profiles of terror suspects being sent from UK to face US trials

Here are thumbnail sketches of the five men who were being extradited Friday from the U.K. to the U.S., where they will stand trial on terror-related charges in federal district courts in Manhattan and Hartford, Conn. Abu Hamza al Masri, Khalid al Fawwaz and Adel Abdel Bari will be tried in New York and Babar Ahmad and Syed Tahla Ahsan will be tried in Hartford.

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Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al Masri, shown leading prayers at the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London pm Feb. 7, 2003.

Abu Hamza al Masri, an Egyptian-born cleric, will face 11 counts of criminal conduct related to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, advocating violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Ore., between June 2000 and December 2001. Masri was formerly the imam of London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, where shoe bomber Richard Reid worshiped and was recruited. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against the U.S., Masri was quoted as saying: "Many people will be happy, jumping up and down at this moment." In 2003, he famously addressed a rally in central London called by the Islamic al-Muhajiroun, where members spoke of their support for Islamist goals like the creation of an Islamic caliphate and upending the Middle Eastern regimes. Masri lost both hands and an eye in Afghanistan, either building a bomb or in a de-mining operation.


Khalid al Fawwaz has been under indictment in the United States since 1998, accused of conspiracy in planning the August 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in east Africa. He has been in U.K. jails since Sept. 28, 1998, fighting his extradition in both U.K. and EU courts.  Al-Fawwaz, a Saudi and a civil engineer, is 50 years old. He moved from Riyadh to London in 1994. According to documents placed in the court record by the FBI, he was then appointed by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as the first head of the terrorist group’s media organ, the Advice and Reform Committee. In 1996, as bin Laden delegated some of his leadership responsibilities to al-Fawwaz, the FBI reported.  By 1998, the FBI claimed in affidavits that he was a pivotal figure in planning the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people.

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Abel Abdel Bari is an Egyptian who -- like al Fawwaz and other alleged conspirators (now dead) -- was indicted in the embassy bombings. He was arrested in London in July 20, 1999, and charged with conspiring with bin Laden in planning the twin attacks on Aug. 7, 1998, the eighth anniversary of the arrival of American forces in Saudi Arabia. Bari reportedly issued a statement following the bombings claiming responsibility.

The two remaining defendants Babar Ahmad and Syed Tahla Ahsan, both British, are accused of involvement with the pro-terror website Azzam.com before their arrests by their government. They have been held in custody since Aug. 5, 2004. 

Robert Windrem is a senior investigative producer for NBC News.

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