- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2004

OSLO (Agence France-Presse) — Norwegian authorities again have detained Mullah Krekar, the founder of the Kurdish guerrilla group Ansar al-Islam, after prosecutors prepared a fresh case against him based on new evidence, police said yesterday.

The Norwegian newspaper VG reported that Krekar will be charged with involvement in suicide attacks in northern Iraq for which Ansar al-Islam is being held responsible.

The newspaper, quoting a “central source” within the police, said new evidence was uncovered by tapping Krekar’s phone and electronic communications.

Oslo has been seeking to expel Krekar to Iraq, having turned down an extradition request from Jordan.

U.S. officials contend that Ansar al-Islam has links to al-Qaeda, the Islamist extremists responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Krekar has violated his residency terms in Norway, but the government has not had sufficient grounds to extradite him.

“I have been informed the reason for the indictment, and it concerns new circumstances,” Krekar’s attorney, Brynjar Melling, told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

Krekar was taken into custody in March, when policemen raided his apartment in the eastern part of Oslo. He was released in April.

German authorities said Ansar al-Islam plotted to attack the German army hospital in Hamburg in a suicide attack.

In its northern Iraq stronghold, Ansar al-Islam ran a network of Muslim guerrillas until its bases were destroyed by Kurdish and U.S. forces during the war against Saddam Hussein.

But U.S. commanders have said Ansar al-Islam has made a strong comeback, infiltrating Iraq from Iran and setting up operations in the Baghdad area.

The group is suspected of being behind a series of unsolved car bombings and suicide attacks in the Iraqi capital that have targeted the Jordanian embassy, the U.N. headquarters, a hotel used by Iraqi and U.S. security forces, and the Turkish mission.

Krekar, who has enjoyed refugee status in Norway since 1991, says he has not led Ansar al-Islam since May 2002.

Krekar was arrested in the Netherlands in September 2002 and detained for four months, where he was questioned by FBI agents before being released and sent to Norway.

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