ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Senior al-Qaida militant Abu Faraj al-Libbi will be handed over to the United States for prosecution, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday, ending speculation the military ruler would seek to try the Libyan-born terror suspect here for two assassination attempts.
"We are obviously going to deport him," Musharraf told a CNN conference in Atlanta, speaking via video hookup from Islamabad. "We don”t want him in Pakistan," Musharraf said of al-Libbi.
He said al-Libbi, believed to be a close confidant of Osama bin Laden and described by U.S. officials as the terror network”s No. 3 operative, did not provide any leads on bin Laden”s whereabouts during his interrogation.
"No, he did not provide useful information about Osama bin Laden," Musharraf said. "He says he is not in contact with Osama bin Laden."
He added, "We deport al-Qaida suspects to the United States for further interrogations."
It was not clear when al-Libbi would be turned over or where he is being held now.
Al-Libbi was arrested May 2 along with another foreigner after a firefight on the outskirts of Mardan, a town 30 miles north of Peshawar, capital of the deeply conservative North West Frontier Province, officials said.
Al-Libbi, who”s thought to use at least five aliases, is believed responsible for planning attacks in the United States, a U.S. counterterrorism official said after his arrest.
However, he did not appear on the FBI list of the world”s most-wanted terrorists, and his exact role in al-Qaida is not clear. It is not known what charges he might face in the United States or if he has been indicted by any U.S. court.
In Pakistan, al-Libbi was wanted for allegedly masterminding two attempts in December 2003 on Musharraf”s life. The president was unhurt, but 17 people died in the second attack, on Christmas Day.
The assassination attempts carry the death penalty in Pakistan.