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Terrorism & Security

Pakistan detains London bombing suspect

The Al Qaeda militant was one of seven detained for planning attacks on supply convoys for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

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The Associated Press (AP) reports that an unmanned spy plane and three helicopters were overhead during the raid. In recent months, the US has stepped up its use of drones to fire missiles at Al Qaeda leaders and other targets along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Pakistan has objected to the violation of its airspace. Wednesday's raid involved close cooperation with US officials, though none have commented publicly. Pakistan's Army has so far declined to comment.

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Pakistani intelligence officials told AP and Reuters that Taifi, the detained Saudi, played a role in the 2005 attacks in London, when four British Islamists carried out suicide bombings that killed 52 people. Some of the bombers had visited Pakistan and trained with militants there.

But Britain's Daily Telegraph reports that the involvement of Taifi in the plot is uncertain. Police sources said they had no knowledge of him.

British and American intelligence officials say they have accounted for most of the senior Al Qaeda operatives allegedly involved in planning the July 7 attacks from Pakistan.
Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, the man said to have planned the attacks, was captured in Turkey in 2006 as he was travelling to Iraq in a bid to improve relations with terrorists there.
His associate, Abu Munthir, who acted as a contact between terrorist groups and Al Qaeda's senior command, was detained in Pakistan in 2004.
The bomb-maker is said to be a man called abu Ubaida al-Masri who is thought to have died from hepatitis C last year.

The rise of Islamist militancy among Britain's large Pakistani population has become a serious concern for British politicians and security forces. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently said that the majority of terror plots uncovered in Britain have links to Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Agence France-Presse reports that Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband left Pakistan four days before the raid. His diplomacy was largely aimed at lowering tensions between Pakistan and India in the wake of the attacks on Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in November. A spokesman for his office in London said it was investigating the reports of Wednesday's arrests.

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