Al-Qaida threatens to kill UK hostage

Al-Qaida in North Africa says it will kill a British hostage if the British government does not release an imprisoned radical preacher. The group said in a statement posted Sunday on an Islamist Web site that it will execute the British tourist held by the group since late January if the extremist Muslim preacher Abu Qatada is not freed in 20 days. Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-Jordanian, was jailed in Britain in 2002 accused of links with terror groups but was released in 2005. He was re-arrested and is pending deportation to Jordan where he was sentenced to life in prison in absentia. Four tourists, including two Swiss, a German woman and a British man, were kidnapped by gunmen Jan. 22 in Niger, their tour operator said.