The conviction of the Egyptian-born, hook-handed al-Qaeda devotee Abu Hamza Al-Masiri is a major step in the fight against terror. One of the most dangerous men of the Al-Qaeda's network Abu Hamza was sentenced to life imprisonment on multiple charges ranging from hostage taking to plotting the setting up of terrorist camps in the United States of America.
Bouncer turned Jihadi
He was without a doubt one of the most influential hate preachers. The 56 year old who has one hand and one eye was born in Egypt to a naval officer, studied civil engineering before landing in England in the year 1979.
Surprising at it may seem, Hamza took up the job of a bouncer in a pub at England despite having an engineering degree. He was granted citizenship in Britain in the year 1986.
However it was during this time that he started to become interest in jihad and travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan. He took part in the ongoing civil war against the Russians in Afghanistan and lost a hand an eye while fighting.
Turned preacher in 1997
In the year 1997, he returned to Britain and took to active preaching. His speeches were so fiery and anti West that he instantly started to get a lot of followers.
He was briefly detained in 1998 only to be let off. What the British did not realize was that through his preachings and dealings he was recruiting jihadis and also planning on setting up terror modules both in the US and UK.
While the authorities continued to watch him without taking much action, they were appaled at the open speech he gave post 9/11. He was so blatant in his support of the attackers that the British authorities felt that it was time to act.
His Yemen connection
In the year 1998, he was said to have masterminded a hostage crisis in Yemen. 16 Western tourists were taken hostage in Yemen and four died during a rescue operation.
In the charges against him he is said to have provided the terrorists with satellite phones. However there was no evidence to suggest that he was present in Yemen at the time of the incident. In addition to this during the same year, his hand in setting up jihadi camps in Oregon was also found.
A delayed response
When one looks at the case of Abu Hamza, it appears as though action against him came a bit late. The build up of the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan had already taken place by the time he was cornered by the authorities.
Both the US and the UK kept a watch on him instead of acting and this gave him ample time to set up a jihadi network in Afghanistan and Paksitan.
His legal proceedings were also relatively delayed as he repeatedly filed appeals against his extradition to the US from Britain. His last appeal was exhausted in 2012 following which he was extradited to the US.