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Volume 1, No. 10 - March 2002

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Sheikh Omar Saeed
Ahmed Omar Syed Sheikh

Sheikh Omar, 27, was born in London, attended the London School of Economics and is a close associate of Maulana Azhar Masood - founder of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) group, which is involved in numerous terrorist attacks inIndia, including the attack on India's parliament on December 13, 2001.

His father, Saeed Ahmed, was a Pakistani clothes merchant from Wanstead in east London. Sheikh Omar was reportedly a contemporary of England cricket captain Nasser Hussain at the private Forest School, in Snaresbrook. He moved to Lahore and studied at the elite Aitchison College for three years before returning to Forest School in the Sixth Form. After passing four A-levels with good grades, Sheikh Omar enrolled at LSE in October 1992. But he left before the end of his first year of an undergraduate degree in statistics.

Reports suggest he visited Bosnia as an aid worker and soon after, he moved to Pakistan. A BBC reporter - Zubair Ahmed - interviewed a young Sheikh Omar in 1994 as he lay in hospital near Delhi. The 20-year-old said he had returned to Britain from 'holy war' in Bosnia but had then left again to fight for Indian and Kashmiri Muslims. He was arrested by Indian police in 1994, accused of kidnapping three Britons and an American in India. In 1999, while serving a prison sentence for terrorist offences, an Indian Airlines plane was hijacked to Kandahar in Afghanistan. And in exchange for the 155 hostages on the plane, Sheikh Omar was freed from jail. He married in December 2000 and became a father in November 2001.

A British national, Ahmed Sheikh played a major role in raising funds and organizing support for the Harkat-ul-Ansar in the United Kingdom. In October 1994, he organized the kidnapping of four foreign tourists from a hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi, India to secure Masood Azhar's release. All the hostages were subsequently rescued from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India in a joint operation by Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police commandos. One Uttar Pradesh police official, Inspector Abhay Singh Yadav, was killed in the operation. Two other terrorists, British national Sheikh Omar Sayeed and Pakistani national Abdul Rahim, were arrested.

Other related references

Omar Sheikh's Diaries
How Black Tuesday September 11 suspect Omar Sheikh was sent from Pakistan to New Delhi to free Jaish chief Masood Azhar — All the details, in his own words.......

Omar Sheikh's Hostages - In their Own Words
On October 1994, a team of policemen brought down the curtains on Omar Sheikh’s first important kidnap drama. The four hostages — Bela Nuss, Christopher Miles Croston, Rhys Patridge and Paul Ridout — knew their kidnapper as ‘Rohit Sharma’ and later, ‘Khalid’. Their statements recorded after their rescue paint a pattern that closely resembles the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl: Omar lured them with lies, secured their trust and attempted to use them as bargaining chips to meet his demands. Here are two of the statements given by Omar Sheikh's hostages, verbatim.

Omar Sheikh - Face to Face
British-born Sheikh Omar Saeed, the leading suspect in the kidnapping of American journalist Daniel Pearl, had several brushes with the news media in 1994. On one occasion he walked into the BBC offices in Delhi to deliver a note about the kidnapping of four foreigners.

Later that year - after being wounded in a gun battle with Indian police - he was visited by Zubair Ahmed, now of BBC World, who recounts the experience.

A Sheikh and the money trail
Omar Sheikh and his trails of money and terror.....

Indian Express
British Broadcasting Corporation

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