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Old 07-04-2007, 06:57 AM   #1
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al-Qaeda cell busted in London

LONDON(AP) Investigators worked Wednesday to untangle the ties between the eight suspects arrested in connection to the failed car bombing attacks in Britain and were hunting down others believed involved on the periphery of the plot.

British authorities have refused to release many details on the suspects, including whether they were on any watch lists, but have indicated they believe the plot may have links to al-Qaida.

On Wednesday, though, the Press Association news agency reported that some of the suspects had previously come to the attention of British security agencies.

While the information held on database did not alert authorities to the attacks, it did help police to round up suspects quickly, the agency reported, quoting unidentified government sources.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Tuesday that none of the eight suspects was on any American lists that identify potential terror suspects.

The eight people held include one doctor from Iraq and two from India. There is a physician from Lebanon and a Jordanian doctor and his medical assistant wife. Another doctor and a medical student are thought to be from the Middle East.

All employees of the United Kingdom's National Health Service, some worked together as colleagues at hospitals in England and Scotland, and experts and officials say the evidence points to the plot being hatched after they met in Britain, rather than overseas.

"To think that these guys were a sleeper cell and somehow were able to plan this operation from the different places they were, and then orchestrate being hired by the NHS so they could get to the UK, then get jobs in the same area _ I think that's a planning impossibility," said Bob Ayres, a former U.S. intelligence officer now at London's Chatham House think tank.
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