Omar Bakri arrested after boasting he'd remain free

By Jennifer Lipman, November 15, 2010
Omar Bakri

Omar Bakri

An extremist preacher who claimed he "would not spend one day” in prison has been arrested just days after he was sentenced to life behind bars in Lebanon for terrorism charges.

Omar Bakri, a Syrian-born cleric who once called for Sir Paul McCartney to be killed for performing in Israel, and said “all Israelis must be destroyed" was sentenced in his absence on Thursday.

A Lebanese military court handed out the sentence for Bakri’s alleged role in training Al Qaeda militants at a camp in Tripoli.

But despite going into hiding with relatives in Libya and bragging that he would not be captured, intelligence agents arrested him at gunpoint after a car chase.

Bakri, 50, was banned from Britain in 2005 after spending 20 years in the country as leader of the now-outlawed radical Islamist group al Muhajiroun.

Following the July 7 London bombings he stated that he would not tell the police if he knew that Muslims were planning attacks on civilians.

He has described the Holocaust as "a tool used by Jews in order to justify their own hegemony over Muslims in Palestine" and labelled Israel “a cancer in the heart of the Muslim world”.

Lebanon's National News Agency reported that Bakri had “been placed under lock and key.”

Last updated: 11:03am, November 15 2010