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Bombing suspect picked up in Pakistan

PAKISTANI police have arrested an al-Qaida suspect believed linked to the 2005 London transit bombings after an American tip-off, Pakistani security officials said yesterday.

Zabi ul Taifi, a Saudi national, was among seven al-Qaida suspects caught in a raid near the main northwest city of Peshawar, long considered a center of militant activity, two officials said on the basis of anonymity.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik confirmed that seven people - a foreigner and six Pakistanis - have been arrested.

He would not identify them or their alleged crimes but said "high-value targets" were among them.

The United States has been stepping up missile strikes in the Pakistan regions bordering Afghanistan.

The officials would not specify what role Taifi is alleged to have played in the 2005 attacks in London that killed 52 people.

"We have reasons to believe that we got the right man who had played a role in the 2005 attacks in London," said one of the officials, who said that he received the information from security agents in Peshawar.

They said the arrests stemmed from a tip from American intelligence officials, who witnessed the arrest of Taifi but did not participate in it.

"Mainly it was our own work but we worked closely with our American counterparts," one of the officials said.

The US Embassy declined comment.

A British Embassy spokesman said only that Britain "was trying to verify" the claim that Taifi was involved in the London transit bombings.

It was unclear what Pakistan planned to do with these men.

Three of the 2005 London suicide bombers were British-born men of Pakistani descent, one of whom is alleged to have trained in a camp in Pakistan in 2003.

Another British suspect on trial over the attacks is also alleged to have attended the camp.

In November, Pakistani intelligence officials said a US missile strike killed Rashid Rauf, a British militant linked to a jetliner bomb plot, but there has been no independent confirmation of his death by the US or Britain.


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