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Deadline Looms For British Hostage

(Islamic Maghreb)
The deadline set by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) for the release of radical cleric Sheikh Abu Qatada from the British Long Lartin Prison is approaching.

On April 26th, the group issued a statement threatening to kill British hostage Edwyn Dyer if the British government did not free Sheikh Abu Qatada within twenty days.

"On expiration of the deadline, the mujahideen will execute the British hostage if their demand was not met." Several reminders of the time left till the expiration of the deadline were subsequently posted online.

Abu Qatada was first arrested in the U.K. in 2005 under immigration rules, as the government sought to deport him to Jordan. He was released on bail but was returned to prison following reports that he was attempting to flee Britain.

In March he issued a statement from the top security prison of Long Lartin in which he made a discrete appeal for the militants to save him.

"It has become imperative for Muslims to know of the orders of Prophet Mohammed, peace and prayers upon him, on the necessity to free the prisoners with all means, expedients and schemes in your power to achieve this great religious duty," wrote Abu Qatada.