British authorities have decided to charge a Muslim cleric with terrorist offenses, pre-empting a bid from the United States to try him on similar charges, a British news agency reported Friday.
The Press Association said British charges were likely to be filed next week against Abu Hamza Masri, who faces 11 charges in the United States.
The Crown Prosecution Service declined to confirm the report, saying, "We can confirm that we have now advised the police of our decision in the case of Abu Hamza, and they will be taking appropriate action."
A five-day extradition hearing on the U.S. warrant was scheduled to begin Oct. 19 but would almost certainly be adjourned if British charges were filed.
Masri, 46, is former head preacher at London's Finsbury Park mosque, which has been linked to terrorist suspects including alleged Sept. 11, 2001, plotter Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, who was arrested after trying to detonate a bomb in his sneaker on an American Airlines flight in December 2001.
Masri was arrested in May after U.S. authorities filed 11 charges against him relating to terrorism, including trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, involvement in hostage-taking in Yemen and funding terrorism training in Afghanistan.
The Egyptian-born cleric -- who has one eye and hooks for hands, which he says were lost fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s -- has been held at the high-security Belmarsh Prison in south London since his arrest.