April 20, 2014


But Mary cut him off and said: “I am one of the tourists who was taken hostage by Abu Hassan.”

Hamza was speechless for a moment – then smiled and said: “I am surprised that you would have come here. "Very surprised.”

 Mary asked to tape their meeting. Incredibly, Hamza agreed.

She said: “Our 15-minute conversation lasted nearly an hour.”

Hamza admitted providing a satellite phone for Abu Hassan and being in touch with him during the 1998 ambush. He expressed regret for the deaths of the four tourists and insisted he had ordered the kidnappers to keep them safe.

 Hamza told her: “We never thought it would be that bad.”

 She also asked whether he wanted to turn Britain into an Islamic state.

Hamza replied: “I don’t intend everyone should be converted to Islam but the image of Islam has been distorted. “Western countries want Muslim countries to be poor and weak.

“I want peace for those who love peace, war for those who love war.”

At the end of the interview, Hamza leaned forward and warned: “Do not go back to the south of Yemen. "They will not bother with kidnapping foreigners next time. “Rocket attacks on tourists will be next. From a hill, they can fire a rocket at a car. You will not see it coming.”

Mary – now chief executive officer of international technology giant Callaghan Innovation – added;

“Hamza said he could spare no more time and called on one of the youths sitting behind me on the floor to escort me from the mosque. “I thanked him for his time and asked if I could follow up with him in future if I had more questions. “He gave his mobile phone number.”

 Mary Quinns book Kidnapped in Yemen is very interesting and well worth a read


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