September 2001 News

UK asks India to help locate J&K Tterrorist

23 September 2001
The Asian Age
Nabanita Sircar

London: The international hunt to track down terrorists and bust their terror network has led Britain to seek legal assistance from India, in looking for intelligence information on the whereabouts of Ahmed Omar Sheikh, of Harkat ul-Ansar. The terrorist from Kashmir is now the subject of an international manhunt as a terrorist linked to Osama bin Laden and the prime suspect behind the attack on the World Trade Centre. Omar Sheikh, in 1994, had kidnapped three Britons and an American tourist and was caught by the Indian police. But in 1999, he and two other Islamic terrorists were released in exchange of the 154 hostages on the hijacked Indian Airlines airbus which was taken to Kandahar. It is suspected that one of those hijackers was involved in the attack of September 11. An LSE student studying mathematics and statistics, seeing Omar Sheikh’s intelligence and experience in carrying out terrorist activities, the Indian intelligence had described him as a potential leader of the Islamic movement of jihad. Like the other World Trade Centre bombers he is educated, articulate and committed to his cause. But since the hostage exchange of Kandahar, Omar Sheikh has disappeared. It is suspected he is back in Kashmir. It is believed that Omar Sheikh had travelled from Britain to Afghanistan to train as a guerrilla under the aegis of Bin Laden. After his training he moved to Kashmir to join Harkat ul-Ansar now known as Harkat ul-Mujahideen. The group is known to have connections with Laden. In 1998, when Laden issued a fatwa calling for attacks on America, it was signed by one of the leaders of the group. Omar Sheikh’s importance within the group has been confirmed by the Indian intelligence. His role in the US attack is yet unknown but given the evidence of the IA hijack in order to free him shows his importance.


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