Europe

Norway: Italy pulls back radical cleric extradition request

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2015 file photo, Iraqi-born cleric Mullah Krekar, smiles after being released from Kongsvinger prison, in Kongsvinger, Norway. Italy has decided to pull back an extradition request for Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad, also known as Mullah Krekar, Norway's security service said on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Audun Braastad, NTB scanpix via AP, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2015 file photo, Iraqi-born cleric Mullah Krekar, smiles after being released from Kongsvinger prison, in Kongsvinger, Norway. Italy has decided to pull back an extradition request for Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad, also known as Mullah Krekar, Norway's security service said on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Audun Braastad, NTB scanpix via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Norway's security agency says that Italy has decided to pull back an extradition request for a Norway-based radical Iraqi-born cleric suspected of enticing recruits to fight in Iraq and Syria.

The PST agency says Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad — known as Mullah Krekar — will be released Wednesday.

Italy had claimed Mullah Krekar is behind Rawti Shax, a European-wide network aimed at violently overthrowing the government in the Iraqi-Kurdish region and replacing it with a radical caliphate.

Krekar's lawyer Brynjar Meling, whose client has denied the accusation, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK "it is a victory for the rule of law." Krekar holds a Norwegian residence permit.

It was not immediately clear when or why the Italians retracted the extradition request.