Daily Telegraph (England), May 25, 2003
By David Bamber, Home Affairs Editor
Abu Qatada, the Muslim cleric held in Britain, has been linked to last weekend’s suicide bombings in Casablanca which killed 29 people.
Their discovery will add weight to the Government’s claims that the cleric, jailed under anti-terrorist laws last October, is directly involved in terrorist operations.
In documents submitted to an immigrations appeals commission on behalf of David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, Qatada is singled out for his “extensive contacts with senior terrorists worldwide”.
Qatada, who preached at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, was said to have been “closely linked to individuals in the Osama bin Laden/al-Qaeda network”.
The Government’s submission stated: “The evidence is clear that Abu Qatada supports the overthrowing by violent means of some current governments of Arab countries.
“Abu Qatada has been in direct contact with members and supporters of terrorist cells and networks and his preachings are known to be an inspiration for individuals involved in terrorist attacks.”
One sermon given by Qatada said: “The time of victory is near. All over the world, Muslims are sacrificing more and contributing more to the struggle. May Allah accept us all to be slaughtered.”
The cleric, a Palestinian who was originally based in Jordan, is expected to appeal against his continuing detention without trial following his arrest last October, which came after he had been on the run for a year. He is detained in Belmarsh jail, south London.
Moroccan officials have revealed that more than $50,000 (£30,000) was transferred from a senior al-Qaeda operative to Morocco to underwrite the bombings.
Of the 14 suicide bombers, 12 died and two are in police custody.