UK

Theresa May faces quiz over asylum for terror suspect Anas al-Liby

Theresa May
Image caption Theresa May will face questions from the Home Affairs Select Committee on 15 October.

Home Secretary Theresa May will be questioned by MPs as to why an al-Qaeda terror suspect captured in Libya was previously given asylum in Britain.

Anas al-Liby, who was seized by US special forces in Tripoli on Saturday, is accused of helping plan attacks on US embassies in 1998.

He lived in Manchester after fleeing Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the committee would raise the matter with Mrs May.

The home secretary is due to be questioned by the Home Affairs Select Committee on 15 October.

Mr Liby, also known as Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, is accused of helping to plan twin attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which killed 224 people in 1998.

Ali Soufan, a former senior FBI agent, wrote in his book on hunting al-Qaeda leaders of how he and British police investigated Mr Liby's activities in the UK.

The former investigator said the suspect was held in the year after the embassy bombings - but he was released without charge because of a lack of "smoking gun evidence". Mr Liby is said to have then fled the UK.

Mr Vaz said: "This case raises serious questions about the motives behind asylum and national security decisions in the UK.

"It is not the first time that someone, who has been brought to the attention of the authorities and released, has gone on to be linked to further terrorist activity."

Noman Benotman, who is now president of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremist thinktank, got to know Mr Liby when he was commander of Islamist organisation the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

He told the BBC's Newshour: "He's smart. He's not like the usual terrorist or mad people we are dealing with now.

"He's from the old generation, he graduated from the university, he has a degree in IT from Tripoli University."

US commandos also carried out an unsuccessful raid in southern Somalia on Saturday, targeting a leader of the al-Shabab group blamed for the deadly attack on a shopping centre in neighbouring Kenya.

The Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases.

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