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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

April 01, 2004
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UK Police Working with Canada After Terror Arrest

LONDON (Reuters) -- British police are working with Canadian authorities after a software developer was charged in Ottawa with aiding a "terrorist group" in Britain and Canada, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Mohammed Momin Khawaja, a 29-year-old Canadian with Pakistani parents, was arrested at work on Monday by Canadian police who accuse him of "knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity" in Ottawa and London.

Details of his arrest and charge came as British police were given three more days to quiz eight men arrested in London and southeast England in dawn raids on Tuesday in Britain's biggest anti-terror operation since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

"We are aware of the developments in Canada and are liaising with the Canadian authorities," a spokeswoman for London's Metropolitan police said, without giving further details.

She declined to comment on whether British officers had flown to Canada to work with police there.

Canadian police would not say whether Khawaja's arrest was linked to the British swoop in which officers found half a tonof ammonium nitrate fertilizer -- prime bomb-making material.

"I have no details about the investigation," Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler told reporters on Wednesday.

London's police chief openly says he believes an attack on the city is inevitable. Britain has been on high alert since the September 11 suicide plane attacks on New York and Washington.

With banner headlines such as "Truck bombers of suburbia," British newspapers have been packed with speculation since the arrests about a possible target -- from airports to suburban shopping malls and including Arsenal football ground in north London.

Some of the suspects were arrested near Heathrow and Gatwick airports but there was no evidence to indicate any possible target, police sources said.

The eight, who police sources say are Muslims of Pakistani origin, were arrested on suspicion of preparing to carry out acts of terrorism and are being held at a central London police station.

They can be held until late Saturday afternoon, although under UK anti-terror laws police can apply for a further extension.

In a separate development, Italian police arrested several people suspected of "international terrorism" in central Italy, police there said on Thursday.

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