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Egyptian biochemist with British, U.S. connections arrested in London bombings probe

Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt- An Egyptian biochemist arrested Friday in Cairo in connection with the London bombings taught at a British university after taking graduate courses in North Carolina.

Magdy el-Nashar, 33, was arrested early Friday, an Egyptian government official said on condition of anonymity because an official announcement of the arrest had not been made. El-Nashar was being interrogated by Egyptian authorities, the official said.

Metropolitan Police in London said a man has been arrested in Cairo, but they would not confirm his name or characterize him as a suspect in the London subway and double-decker bus bombings that killed at least 54 people.

"We're aware of an arrest in Cairo, but we are not prepared to discuss who we may or may not wish to interview in connection with this investigation (into the London bombings," Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

"This remains a fast-moving investigation with a number of lines of inquiry, some of which may have an international dimension."

The British Embassy in Cairo said it had no comment beyond the Metropolitan Police statement.

The Egyptian official did not elaborate on el-Nashar's arrest.

British and FBI officials were looking for el-Nashar, who recently had been teaching chemistry at Leeds University, north of London. The Times of London said el-Nashar was believed to have rented one of the homes police searched in Leeds in a series of raids Tuesday.

The four other men also believed to have been involved in the bombings all had connections to the Leeds area.

Neighbors reported el-Nashar recently left Britain, saying he had a visa problem, the newspaper said.

Leeds University said el-Nashar arrived in October 2000 to do biochemical research, sponsored by the National Research Center in Cairo, Egypt. It said he earned a doctorate on May 6.

FBI agents in Raleigh, N.C., had joined the search for el-Nashar, a former graduate student at North Carolina State University.

University spokesman Keith Nichols said a person named el-Nashar studied at North Carolina State as a graduate student in chemical engineering for a semester beginning in January 2000. Nichols said the school has gathered records in anticipation of being contacted by the FBI.

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