A militant Islamic group in Mali's north says it will release a British hostage in exchange for a deal on where a well-known Islamist held in the U.K will be deported.
SITE Intelligence Group says the statement from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb was posted Sunday on jihadist internet forums.
The British hostage also holds South African citizenship. He was kidnapped with a Swedish and a Dutch national in Timbuktu in November.
The group says it will release its hostage if the U.K. deports Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-Jordanian preacher described by British courts as a leading al-Qaida figure, to one of the "Arab Spring" countries or allows Qatada to choose where he is sent.
Britain is trying to deport Qatada to Jordan, a move the group said would prompt them to open the "door of evil" on Britain and its citizens.