August 23, 2006

UK police free 2 bomb plot suspects, hold 9

By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) - British police investigating a suspected
plot to blow up transatlantic airliners freed two suspects on
Wednesday and obtained permission to continue questioning nine

Police charged 11 people on Tuesday in the suspected plot
and had been holding 11 others pending a decision on whether to
charge them.

They did not name the men they freed on Wednesday, but Sky
News reported that one was Tayib Rauf of Birmingham, Britain's
second city. His brother Rashid Rauf has been arrested in
Pakistan, where authorities called him a ringleader of the

Police later said they had obtained a judge's permission to
continue questioning eight of the additional suspects for a
further week, and one for just 24 more hours.

Under new anti-terrorism powers that came into force last
month, police can hold suspects without charge for up to 28
days, but must seek a judge's permission every seven days.

British police announced on August 10 they had thwarted the
plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic by smuggling liquid
explosives onto flights, after overnight raids in Birmingham,
London and a town west of the capital.

Those charged on Tuesday include eight British Muslims
accused of conspiracy to murder, a 17-year-old accused of
having items useful to terrorists and two others, including the
only woman still held, accused of failing to report the plot.

Police gave the first description of their evidence in the
case on Tuesday, saying they had found bomb-making materials,
suicide notes and "martyrdom videos" -- an apparent reference
to the last testaments of suicide bombers.

Seventeen people, including at least two British nationals,
are being held in Pakistan in connection with the plot.
Pakistan says they have links to al Qaeda.

The discovery of the suspected bomb plot prompted tight new
security measures on air travel on both sides of the Atlantic.