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UK cleric’s citizenship revoked

London, April 6 (Reuters): Britain has revoked the citizenship of a radical Muslim cleric who applauded the September 11 attacks and was banned from preaching at a London mosque, home secretary David Blunkett said yesterday.

Blunkett said he had informed Abu Hamza al-Masri his citizenship was being stripped. He is the first person targeted under new measures aimed at deporting immigrants whose words or actions are deemed to “seriously prejudice” British interests. “I have sent him a letter withdrawing his citizenship,” Blunkett told BBC radio. Masri now faces deportation.

Egyptian-born Masri, a hate figure in British tabloids that have focused on his missing eye and hook in the place of his right hand, has been vilified for applauding the September 11 attacks in the US and the deaths of Americans and an Israeli in the crash of space shuttle Columbia.

Yemen renewed a request to Britain yesterday to hand over Masri, whom it accuses of links to Muslim militants and involvement in a 1998 kidnapping of Western tourists in that country, four of whom were killed in a rescue attempt. A Yemeni official said in Sanaa that the extradition request was delivered to the British embassy and a request for his arrest sent to Interpol.

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