TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Police Raid Two Internet Cafes


Police Raid Two Internet Cafes


Paul Haven, AP (ap@telecom-digest.org)
Tue, 15 Aug 2006 10:34:50 -0500

By PAUL HAVEN
Associated Press Writer

Police said Tuesday that they raided two Internet cafes in the
investigation of an alleged plot to blow up jetliners over the
Atlantic, and a news report said officers found firearms in a search
of a woodlands near where some of the suspects were arrested earlier.

Travelers continued to face problems at Britain's main airports, where
delays and cancellations exacerbated confusion over shifting rules
governing hand luggage.

The two Internet cafes were raided Thursday in central Slough, 25
miles west of London, not far from the neighborhood in the town of
High Wycombe where several suspects were arrested last week, Thames
Valley police said. They didn't say what, if anything, was found.

Police said they had increased their presence in Slough, but urged
people to remain calm.

"There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any specific
terrorist threat to anyone in this area," Chief Superintendent Brian
Langston said.

Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corp. said a search of some
suspects' homes and of a woodland area in High Wycombe turned up
several firearms and other items of interest. It was not clear if they
were related to the alleged jetliner plot, which authorities say
involved a plan to smuggle liquid explosives aboard flights hidden in
hand luggage.

The two developments came after several days of a near lockdown on
information. The government has not briefed the media since last week,
has not said where suspects are being held, and has not even released
the names of some of them.

Authorities will have to provide at least some details of its evidence
to a judge at a detention extension hearing Wednesday. Twenty-three
people are being held in the plot, including the alleged ringleaders.

On Tuesday, opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron accused
the government of talking tough but doing little to counter extremism
and boost counter-terror efforts.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said, failed to follow through on a plan
unveiled after last year's London transit bombings to crack down on
radical clerics and help Britain's moderate Muslims face down
militants in their communities.

"We need follow-through when the headlines have moved on," Cameron
said. "But precious little has actually been done."

At London airports Tuesday, passengers were allowed to take a single,
briefcase-sized bag as a carry on and were also permitted to have
mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices. Cosmetics, gels,
toothpaste, liquids and sharp objects remained forbidden.

Despite the easing of the rules, British Airways canceled a fifth of
its flights from London on Tuesday, the same as on Monday. BA cut 52
flights, including four bound for the United States. Budget airline
Ryanair canceled eight flights out of Stansted airport.

At Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, travelers again were forced to
wait outside before taking their turn at a check-in desk. Inside the
terminals, stranded and delayed passengers slumped against piles of
luggage or tried to sleep on rows of chairs.

"I'd rather have the increased security, but the people are just so
irritable and angry," Reema Alhabeeb, 16, said after waiting two hours
outside a terminal hoping to fly home to Boston.

British Defense Secretary Des Browne said work was under way on new
permanent security requirements for airports, but declined to say what
the new measures might be.

A report by The Times newspaper said officials were considering a
system of passenger-profiling that would select people behaving
suspiciously, who had an unusual travel pattern or were of a certain
ethnic or religious background.

Leaders in the Muslim community criticized that approach, saying it
would further isolate British Muslims.

"The government needs to think very, very carefully before it
considers putting this measure into practice," said Inayat Bunglawala,
a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain. "There is concern that
such profiling would perhaps only contribute to further alienating a
group whose close co-operation is essential in countering terror."

The government dropped the terror threat level Monday to severe
where it was before the alleged jetliner plot was thwarted.

Interrogations continued in an atmosphere of secrecy. Tough new
anti-terror laws give the government up to 28 days to hold suspects
without charge, but they must periodically go before a judge to make a
case for continued confinement.

Investigations were also under way in Pakistan, where authorities held
17 people, including British citizen Rashid Rauf, who they said has
al-Qaida connections and was a key player in the plot. At least one of
Rauf's brothers was arrested in England during the sweep here.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it might extradite Rauf to
Britain.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The
information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written
authority of The Associated Press.

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