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London Police Arrested a Man for Questioning about Massoud Assassination - 2001-10-24


British news reports say London police have arrested an Egyptian man for questioning about the assassination of Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Officials have not released the name of the suspect, however, British newspapers say the man is Yasser al-Siri, an Egyptian exile who faces a death sentence in Egypt for a murder conviction.

According to the papers, al-Siri provided references to two men who traveled from London to Pakistan, and then on to Afghanistan to carry out the September 8th assassination. Ahmad Shah Massoud was the top commander of the opposition Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.

American investigators suspect the assassination was part of an effort by Osama bin Laden to destabilize anti-Taleban forces in Afghanistan ahead of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States.

Al-Siri was sentenced to death in Egypt for the 1993 assassination attempt against former prime minister Atef Sedki. A 12-year old girl was killed in the attack.

In another trial two years ago, al-Siri was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for plotting to carry out attacks against officials and police.

He fled to London in 1994. He allegedly entered Britain on a false passport, but was granted asylum.

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