Zambia to deport suspect to UK
Aswat's family say they have not seen him for 10 years.
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LUSAKA, Zambia (CNN) -- The Zambian government says it has signed an agreement with Britain to deport Rashid Haroon Aswat, a suspected al Qaeda operative believed to have facilitated or recruited the July 7 London transport bombers.
Aswat, 30, will be sent to Britain soon, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said Wednesday.
A British-born citizen of Indian heritage, Aswat was arrested July 20 in Zambia. He also is wanted in the United States in connection with two active terrorism cases.
Zambia's decision appeared to settle a behind-the-scenes battle between Britain and American officials over legal custody of Aswat.
Zambian officials said earlier they were delaying deportation to allow FBI agents in Zambia to question.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have a sealed arrest warrant for Aswat, and there were contingency plans in place to bring him back to the United States, according to law enforcement sources.
Officials did not say exactly when the deportation to Britain will take place.
Aswat is an alleged conspirator in the Oregon "jihad" camp case. He allegedly scouted land, planned training, and screened recruits for the never-built camp, according to the indictment of a Seattle man, James Ujaama, who eventually pleaded guilty to related charges two years ago.
Prosecutors also alleged a link between Aswat and another alleged conspirator in the Ujaama case, Abu Hamza el-Masri, a jailed radical Muslim cleric with alleged al Qaeda ties who is under indictment in New York and is incarcerated in Britain, where he is being prosecuted for inciting murder and terrorism-related charges.
Aswat hails from the town of Batley, England, near Leeds, where three of the four July 7 bombers grew up. His family has recently said they haven't seen him for 10 years.
The July 7 bombs, on three Underground trains and a double-decker bus, killed 52 commuters as well as the four bombers..
-- Journalist Henry Ngilazi contributed to this report
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