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Key British Planes Plotter Has Ties To Al Qaeda

From the "Paper Of Treason," the New York Times:

A Pakistan man reads a newspaper with the headline story of Britain terror plot, at a newspapers stall in Karachi, Pakistan on Friday, Aug. 11, 2006.

Suspect Held in Pakistan Is Said to Have Ties to Qaeda

LONDON, Aug. 11 — Pakistani officials said Friday that they had arrested a British-born associate of Al Qaeda who appears to have been a crucial player in what authorities said was a plot to blow up as many as 10 passenger jets bound for the United States.

The suspect, identified as Rashid Rauf, was arrested Wednesday in the eastern city of Bahawalpur, the officials said, just hours before the authorities began a series of raids across Britain to break up the plot they say was rapidly unfolding here.

According to a former Pakistani official close to the intelligence services there, the information leading to the arrest of Mr. Rauf came from a mole planted by the British police who had been monitoring the plot inside the United Kingdom. With Mr. Rauf safely in hand, British authorities on Thursday swept up 24 suspects who they say were planning to carry liquid explosives onto passenger airliners and detonate them as the planes flew to the United States.

American and Pakistani officials said they decided to arrest the 24 suspects, in part because they were concerned that word of Mr. Rauf’s arrest could send the British plotters underground. The officials described Mr. Rauf, who is of Pakistani descent, as a hardened Islamic militant who had been acting as a liaison for Al Qaeda in its relations with the plotters in the United Kingdom.

“There is definitely an Al Qaeda connection to this,” Mahmud Ali Durrani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, said.

In another interview, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, the Pakistani interior minister, called Mr. Rauf a “key Al Qaeda operative.”

American officials in Washington concurred that Mr. Rauf was believed to be a principal facilitator in the plot to blow up the airliners and that he was affiliated with Al Qaeda…

Gee, another big surprise.

But I bet when he’s not plotting to blow up airplanes he’s a real nice guy.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, August 12th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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