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Syria releases the 7/7 'mastermind’
Abu Musab al-Suri had been held in Syria for six years after being captured by the CIA in 2005 and transported to the country of his birth under its controversial extraordinary rendition programme.
But he is now said to have been released as a warning to the US and Britain about the consequences of turning their backs on President al-Assad’s regime as it tries to contain the uprising in the country.
Al-Suri, also known as Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, was al-Qaeda’s operations chief in Europe and has been accused of planning the London bombings, in which four British-born terrorists detonated three bombs on the Underground and another on a bus, killing 52 people and injuring more than 700 others in 2005.
In a statement released after the attacks, al-Suri said: “[In my teachings] I have mentioned vital and legitimate targets to be hit in the enemy’s countries … Among those targets that I speciﬁcally mentioned as examples was the London Underground. [Targeting this] was and still is the aim.”
A mechanical engineer, he is also wanted in Spain in connection with the Madrid train bombings in 2004, which left 191 dead, and for links to an attack on the Paris Metro in 1995.