Israeli has confirmed that it has been detaining without trial a suspected al-Qaida operative for the past three years.

Responding to a court petition, Israel's Justice Ministry confirmed Monday that Samir al-Baraq, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian, has been jailed since he crossed over into Israel from Jordan on 2010. With his detention set to expire, the ministry asked the court Monday to extend it another six months.

The ministry argues that releasing al-Baraq would mark a "point of no return for the development of significant jihadi infrastructure in the region."

It says al-Baraq is an expert in biological warfare and has been active in al-Qaida since 2001. It says he was recruited by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current al-Qaida chief.

He was previously arrested and released by the United States and Jordan.