London, Apr 20 (ANI): For the first time, the jailed radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada has been linked to terrorist organisation al-Qaeda by one of the terror group's own leaders.
Adil al-Abbab, revealed recently as Osama Bin Laden's head of religious affairs in Saudi Arabia, said: "Free our prisoners and the prisoners of the Muslims. O Allah! Free Sheikh Abu Qatada."
Qatada, long suspected of being the network's top European envoy, was respectfully referred to as "Sheikh" which denotes leadership, The Sun reports.
A UK security source said of the web rant: "This is clearly an own goal. These calls for his freedom from a senior al-Qaeda figure end any doubt about his significance to Bin Laden."
Qatada, 48, is behind bars fighting the Home Secretary's decision to boot him out of Britain.
He has always dodged questions about his connections to al-Qaeda, but he is wanted in Jordan on terror charges.
Qatada is appealing to Europe against the decision to deport him. (ANI)