Norway holds Ansar al-Islam founder

Norway has rearrested the founder of an Iraqi Islamic group months after authorities dropped terrorism charges against him for lack of evidence.

    Mullah Krekar has lived in Norway since 1991

    Police said on Friday they would bring new charges against Mullah

    Krekar, an Iraqi Kurd and co-founder of Ansar al-Islam, a group

    which Washington says has ties to al-Qaida

    .

    Krekar was arrested at his home in

    Oslo around midday, police said.

    The Iraqi has had refugee status in Norway since 1991, and has

    denied links to "militant groups".

    But senior police official Erling Grimstad, who heads the

    investigation, said police would ask an Oslo court on Saturday

    to order that Krekar be detained for four weeks while they

    prepare a case against him.

    Closed-door hearing 

    "We have a new charge in the case against Mullah Krekar,"

    Grimstad said, although he declined to elaborate and said police

    would also ask for a closed-door court hearing.

    Police first arrested Krekar on 20 March, the day US-led

    forces began an invasion to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

    Krekar was charged under anti-terrorism legislation of links to

    a terrorist organisation and of threatening violence.

    The US accuses Ansar al-Islam of
    being behind resistance attacks

    An appeals court ordered his release in April and the

    charges were finally dropped in July when Grimstad acknowledged

    that police did not have enough evidence.

    Krekar's attorney Brynjar Meling said on Friday that he had

    been informed of the arrest, but had not yet met his client and

    did not know what the new charges were.

    Resistance attacks

    "I am not sure exactly what they have connected him to,"

    Meling said on his way to meet Krekar

    .

    The US air force targeted Ansar's camps in northern Iraq

    during the war.

    US officials have also named it as one of the

    groups behind resistance attacks

    that have killed more than 200

    American soldiers since major combat was declared over in May.

    Last year Washington asked Oslo to extradite Krekar to

    Jordan to face criminal charges there. But in November Norway

    rejected a Jordanian request for his extradition to face drug

    trafficking charges.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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