Raids against Islamists across Europe
* British Police questioning would-be suicide bomber for Al Qaeda link
MILAN/BERLIN: Police hunting Islamic militants across Europe capped a dramatic series of anti-terror raids in three countries with the arrest of a suspected Algerian extremist in the German port of Hamburg on Friday.
Abderrazak Mahdjoub, 29, was held at the request of Italian authorities investigating an alleged network involved in recruiting Islamists to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq. A copy of an arrest warrant, obtained by Reuters, showed that one of the recruits was suspected of complicity in an October rocket attack on a Baghdad hotel where US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.
Separately, British police were questioning a suspected would-be suicide bomber arrested in southwest England on Thursday. The government has said the 24-year-old Muslim man may have links with Al Qaeda. Four other North African suspects — three from Tunisia and one from Morocco — were arrested in northern Italy on Thursday in connection with the same investigation into alleged recruitment of suicide bombers for Iraq.
British police combed through more sites Friday in Gloucester, in the west of England, a day after they arrested a 24-year-old man with suspected links to Al-Qaeda and convicted “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said the flat — next to the suspect’s home where a small amount of explosives were found Thursday — was raided in the early morning hours, and was undergoing forensic examination.n.
Two other houses in the vicinity were also being searched.
The suspect, identified by neighbours as Sajid Badat, but by police only as a British national of South Asian descent, was undergoing further questioning Friday under the Terrorism Act 2000 at a police station in west London.
No charges have been laid, but under the Terrorism Act he can be held for up to seven days. Police refused to comment on a report in the London Evening Standard newspaper that a pair of sports shoes with hollowed-out heels — possibly intended to hide explosives — had been found in the Badat family home.e. —Agencies