An Algerian-born man sought on terrorism charges was detained at Milan's Malpensa airport after arriving on a flight from London, police said yesterday.

Remli Nadir, 47, was taken into custody late on Tuesday after a name check revealed that Algeria had issued an international arrest warrant for him in 2001 on charges of "creating and taking part in a terrorist organisation".

Nadir, who lives near London, had a British passport and was travelling with his son at the time of his arrest.

Italian courts will now decide whether he should be extradited to Algeria.

Security experts in Algeria said police believed Nadir was an important member of the British cell of Algeria's Armed Islamic Group's (GIA).

The cell is accused of promoting GIA's activities and collecting donations at mosques.

The GIA began a bloody campaign in 1992 to transform secular Algeria into an Islamic republic.

The group is no longer believed to be operational in Europe and security experts say it has probably been absorbed into an al Qaeda-linked organisation called the GSPC.

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