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Four more UK terror suspects freed

CNN | April 29, 2004

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The last four of the 10 people detained following terror raids this month in northern England have been released, authorities say.

Nine men and one woman, reported to be of North African and Iraqi Kurdish origin, were arrested on April 19 "on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism." Six of them were freed last week.

Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable David Whatton said three suspects were released without charge while six were freed under the Terrorism Act but re-arrested in connection with other alleged offences and later released on bail.

The tenth was this morning due to be deported to North Africa, Whatton added. "Inquiries are continuing and will do for some time," he said in a statement.

"We remain confident that we are doing everything to ensure people in Greater Manchester remain safe and secure," Whatton added.

The recent raids involved more than 400 officers including members of the security services and the Metropolitan Police's Anti-Terrorist Branch.

Seven of the suspects were arrested in Britain's Greater Manchester area, and the others were arrested in Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

Police said the 10 suspects were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to hold suspects for up to two weeks without charge.

This legislation has been used repeatedly since the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. However, critics argue that most of those arrested are either released without charge or charged with minor offences unrelated to terrorism.

The April 19 raids were the second round of arrests of terrorist suspects by British police in less than a month.

Five men arrested in and around London on March 30 were charged in connection with another plot, and investigators seized a half-ton of ammonium nitrate -- the type of fertilizer used to make the bombs that killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995 and more than 200 people in Bali in 2002.

Europe has been on high alert since the train bombings in Madrid that killed 190 people on March 11 and police have warned Britons to be vigilant to the terrorist threat.

Britain, Washington's closest ally in its "war on terror" and the invasion that toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, has long concerned that it could be targeted by Islamic terror groups. London's police chief said he feared an attack was inevitable.


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