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11/16/2005
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U.K. Extradites Alleged Cyberterrorist To U.S.

The suspect is accused of operating a fund-raising Web site for Islamic militants and encouraging them to wage jihad--or holy war--in Afghanistan and Chechnya between 1999 and 2003.

The United Kingdom says it will extradite to the United States an alleged terrorist computer expert accused of running a fund-raising Web site for Islamic militants.

On Wednesday, Britain's interior minister, Charles Clarke, ordered that British cyberterrorist suspect Babar Ahmad be extradited to the United States, according to British news reports. Ahmad, who is said to be a computer expert from Tooting, a community in southwest London, is accused of operating a fund-raising Web site for Islamic militants and encouraging them to wage jihad--or holy war--in Afghanistan and Chechnya between 1999 and 2003. Barber had been detained in the United Kingdom on a U.S. arrest warrant since 2004.

In the world of terrorism, which includes fund raising on the Web and sites that broadcast acts of violence like roadside car bombings in Iraq, "there are lots of these pursuits, but this is the first major catch," says cyberterrorist expert and book author Andrew Colarik.

There are many challenges in finding the people who run these terrorist sites, he says. "They work under anonymity, often from cybercafes. They're difficult to catch," he says. "But this shows that the people running these sites are highly educated technology experts, not nomads in a desert," he says. "This is a very significant arrest."

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