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'Jihad Jane' plot suspect faces quick extradition

An Algerian man wanted by American authorities over the abortive 'Jihad Jane' plot to assassinate a Swedish artist was arrested while leaving court here and could face US extradition demands within hours.

Ali Charaf Damache (47) had just walked free from a court in Waterford, after three years in prison, when detectives acting on an American extradition warrant rearrested and escorted him, handcuffed, to an unmarked garda car. Court officials said his extradition proceedings could begin today in Dublin High Court.

The FBI and US Justice Department accuse Damache of being the ringleader behind an unrealised 2009 conspiracy to target artist Lars Vilks in Sweden over his series of drawings depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog.

Muslim extremists in Iraq had offered a $100,000 (€76,100) reward for anyone who killed Vilks, who was never attacked.

US prosecutors say Damache, who has lived in Ireland since 2000, recruited two US women via jihadist websites to help him target Vilks. One of the women who billed herself as 'Jihad Jane', Colleen LaRose, was arrested by the FBI soon after she returned from Ireland in September 2009.

Damache married the other woman, Jamie Paulin Ramirez, on the day she arrived in Ireland from Colorado the same month.

Both LaRose, now 49, and Ramirez, now 34, have pleaded guilty – LaRose to conspiring to kill Vilks, Ramirez to lesser charges of aiding terrorists – and are imprisoned in the US pending their sentencing.