A London court has heard that an Algerian pilot in custody in the city instructed four of the hijackers involved in the 11 September attacks in the US. 27-year-old Lotfi Raissi was arrested in London last week under British anti-terrorist legislation. He has been remanded in custody until 5 October.
Speaking at the extradition hearing, prosecutor Arvinda Sambir said that she believes that he facilitated and trained pilots. "We are looking at conspiracy to murder charges in the future," she added. She said that Raissi was particularly linked to the hijacking pilot on the passenger jet which crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington.
In a separate development, an extradition hearing for an Algerian man has been postponed until 26 October. The United States has charged that Amar Makhnulif plotted with Osama bin Laden to bomb Los Angeles airport. He was arrested at Heathrow Airport in July while trying to board a plane to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, six Algerians arrested in Spain on suspicion of links with the Osama bin Laden are due in court today. They face questioning in connection with an alleged terrorist plot against American interests in Europe.
Newspaper reports say that members of the group were carrying a diary that included obscure references to Ireland and a number of other European countries.
The Spanish authorities have also seized videos from the suspects. These contained images of attacks in Algeria and Chechnya, as well as training camps in Afghanistan.
The six men are allegedly members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. The GSPC is one of the groups whose funds were frozen by US authorities because of links to bin Laden.
The six men: Mohamed Belaziz; Yassin Seddiki; Hakim Zerzour; Madjid Sahouane; Hocine Khouni; and Mohamed Boualem Khnouni, who is allegedly the cell's leader, were arrested in raids throughout Spain that followed a two-year joint European police investigation.