NOUAKCHOTT - Mauritania wants to investigate former Libyan intelligence chief Abdallah al-Senussi before considering any extradition requests, police said Saturday.

Mauritania “will link Interpol to the investigation” of Senussi, who was arrested in the capital Nouakchott overnight, and “it will be after this investigation that the government will examine extradition requests from Tripoli or elsewhere,” a police source told AFP.

The source did not say how long the investigation might take before the extradition requests expected from both Libya and France are examined.

Senussi, 62, a brother-in-law of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Gaddafi, is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.

He was arrested when he arrived in Nouakchott from Casablanca, Morocco, on a fake Malian passport, a security source said earlier.

Libyan government spokesman Salal al-Manaa said Saturday that Tripoli wanted Senussi extradited.

“Telephone calls are underway by Libyan authorities to request his extradition,” Manaa told a news conference in Tripoli.

He added that the Libyan prosecutor general had also sent an extradition request to the Mauritanian government through Interpol.

The government “is ready to receive Abdullah al-Senussi and to detain him in a Libyan prison and to give him a fair trial in Libya,” Manaa said, adding that the spymaster was accompanied at the time of his arrest “by someone who is believed to be his son.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed the arrest and will seek his extradition to France, his office said. Senussi faced an international arrest warrant after a Paris court sentenced him in absentia to life for his alleged involvement in an attack on a French airliner in 1989 that killed 170 people, a statement from the Elysee said.

The statement said Senussi’s arrest was “the result of joint efforts by the French and Mauritanian authorities, of which the Libyan authorities were kept informed.”

It said Paris would file a request for Senussi to be held pending extradition to Nouakchott within hours.

The ICC, which issued an arrest warrant for him on June 27, says Senussi was an “indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity of murder and persecution based on political grounds” committed against the country’s popular revolt last year.

The court had not officially received information of his arrest, ICC spokesman Fadi al-Abdallah told AFP on Saturday.

“We are going to ask the Mauritanian authorities for official confirmation and, if that is the case, seek their cooperation for handing the suspect to the court,” he said.

Abdallah said Mauritania was not a party to the treaty that set up the court, “but like all UN member states it has been asked by the Security Council to cooperate with the ICC.”