London, June 30 : British security officials are under fire after radical Islamic preacher Abu Hamza allegedly sent messages from his cell to al-Qaeda's deputy leader.
American counter-terrorism chiefs are demanding a full explanation from Britain of how the radical cleric was able to smuggle murderous messages from his UK prison cell to al Qaeda's No2 leader.
According to senior American intelligence sources, Hamza evaded the extensive security measures surrounding him to send a series of questions to Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man.
Al-Zawahiri is believed to be hiding with Bin Laden in the lawless mountain region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Hook-handed Hamza was jailed for seven years in 2006 for inciting murder and racial hatred and is held at Belmarsh prison, south east London.
It is classed as one of Britain's most secure jails, The Daily Star reported.
It is understood that Hamza posted questions to Al-Zawahiri on a website run by al-Qaeda.
He was found out after US officials tracked the messages and found they were sent from an email address known to be linked to the cleric. They believe that the messages from both men were genuine.
The new row comes amid a long-running battle by US authorities to get Hamza, 50, extradited.
The new revelations have caused fury among Americans. US officials allege Hamza was involved in a conspiracy to wage a holy war against the West.
The most serious charge relates to his alleged involvement in the kidnap of 16 tourists in Yemen in 1998. Four hostages, including three Brits, died in a rescue attempt.
Hamza's questions to the deputy leader centred around new activities in Egypt and how he could join the "caravan".
He also asked if it was permissable to kill officers of State Security in Egypt. Al-Zawahiri replied, saying that "the days will reveal to you what you didn't know. And news will come to you from those who didn't have it."
He added: "It is to focus at this stage on striking American and Zionist targets and targets of the states allied with it in the aggression against the Muslims. And Allah knows best."