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Britain Holds On to Terror Suspects

Police are granted more time to question nine detainees, including an alleged Al Qaeda member. Two others have been let go.

August 09, 2004|From Associated Press

LONDON — British police were granted more time Sunday to question nine terrorism suspects arrested last week.

Officers have until Tuesday to question the men, including a suspected key Al Qaeda operative.

A total of 13 were arrested Tuesday in a sweep that fueled speculation of an Al Qaeda plot to attack London's Heathrow airport.

Two were released without charge, and the Metropolitan Police said Sunday that two more were no longer being held under counter-terrorism legislation. They were rearrested on suspicion of possessing forged documents, officers said.

Under British anti-terrorism laws, police may get extensions to question suspects for up to 14 days before they must be charged or released.

The remaining nine were being questioned under the Terrorism Act, on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, Scotland Yard said.

Intelligence sources have suggested that one of the suspects, identified as Abu Eisa al Hindi or Abu Musa al Hindi, was a senior Al Qaeda operative who was involved in conducting surveillance on prominent financial institutions in Washington, New Jersey and New York and writing detailed assessments of the targets.

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