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Germany

Tug-of-War Over Al Qaida Suspects in Frankfurt

After German police arrested two suspected members of the al Qaida terror network on Friday, Yemen declared that its citizens should be sent back home for questioning. A dispute with the United States could ensue.

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German police take a suspected al Qaida terrorist into custody

Yemen has asked Germany to extradite two suspected al Qaida members held by federal police. Mohammed Ali Hassan Sheik al Mujahed and Said Mohammed Moshen were arrested on Friday morning in a hotel near Frankfurt International Airport.

German officials are expecting an extradition request from the U.S. government, which had prompted the arrest by asking for Germany’s assistance in apprehending the men. Yemen, however, insists that al Mujahed and Moshen be returned to their home country.

“Yemen requests the government of the Federal Republic of Germany to hand the Yemeni citizens to her and not to any other party,” the official Yemeni news agency Saba quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying. The ministry declared that Yemen will put the suspects on trial if the U.S. provides sufficient proof that they were involved in terrorism.

Mohammed Ali Hassan Sheik al Mujahed is the imam of a major mosque in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and, according to the U.S. government, a top financial advisor to Osama bin Laden. The U.S. also accuses him of being a “main supporter” of the Palestinian extremist organization Hamas, the German Focus news magazine reported. Al Mujahed was accompanied by Said Mohammed Moshen, who is said to be an al Qaida member as well.

Frankfurt court to decide

In coming weeks Frankfurt’s High Court will decide whether to extradite the two men. Germany and the U.S. have a bilateral agreement that would allow the men to be extradited to the U.S. A comparable agreement with Yemen does not exist, the news agency dpa writes.

Neither authorities in the U.S. nor the U.S. Embassy in Berlin were willing to comment on the arrests.

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