World Briefs: Britain to extradite radical cleric to U.S.

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LONDON — Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has lost a court appeal to block extradition to the U.S. to face terrorism charges that include trying to set up an al Qaeda training camp in rural Oregon.

The cleric, considered one of Britain’s most notorious extremists, will be extradited to the U.S. as soon as possible, Britain’s Home Office said Monday.

In April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the cleric’s rights would not be violated if extradited to stand trial in the U.S. He lodged an appeal to that ruling, but the court said Monday his appeal was rejected.

The cleric, who is blind in one eye and wears a hook for a hand, is known for his fiery anti-Western and anti-Semitic outbursts. He claims he has lost his Egyptian nationality, but Britain considers him an Egyptian citizen. He is serving a seven-year prison term in Britain for inciting hatred.

MIDDLE EAST

New SARS-like virus detected in Middle East

LONDON — Global health officials are monitoring a new respiratory virus related to SARS that is believed to have killed at least one person in Saudi Arabia and left a Qatari citizen in critical condition in London.

The germ is a coronavirus, from a family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as SARS, the severe acute respiratory syndrome that killed some 800 people, mostly in Asia, in a 2003 epidemic.

In the latest case, British officials alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday of the new virus in a man who transferred from Qatar to be treated in London. He recently had traveled to Saudi Arabia and is now being treated in an intensive care unit after suffering kidney failure.

WHO said virus samples from the patient are almost identical to those of a 60-year-old Saudi national who died earlier this year.

The agency isn’t recommending travel restrictions, and said the source of infection remains unknown.

Health officials don’t know yet whether the virus could spread as rapidly as SARS did or if it might kill as many people. SARS, which first jumped to humans from civet cats in China, hit more than 30 countries worldwide after spreading from Hong Kong.

EGYPT

Court sentences terrorists to hang

CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced 14 members of an extremist group to death by hanging for attacks against police in the Sinai Peninsula, ruling that they are members of an organization that considers even other Islamists to be infidels.

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