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Police get more time to quiz Qaeda suspects

Police have been granted a further seven days to question 11 men arrested over an alleged Al-Qaeda-driven major terrorist plot, they said on Saturday.

Twelve men, among them 11 Pakistani nationals -- most of them students -- were arrested in raids across northwest England on Wednesday.

"The North West Counter Terrorism Unit was last night given warrants for the further detention of 11 men arrested," a Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said.

An 18-year-old arrested in connection with the alleged plot has been released into the custody of the UK Border Agency.

The men still being held by police are in custody in various locations across Britain. They range in age from 22 to 41, and can be held without charge for up to 28 days.

Anti-terror police are still searching 10 addresses in the cities of Manchester and Liverpool as part of the probe.

Meanwhile Britain and Pakistan have traded accusations over fighting terrorism.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who wants more assistance from Pakistan in rooting out extremists targeting Britain, has held telephone talks with President Asif Ali Zardari.

But Pakistan's ambassador to London insisted that Islamabad was doing all it could to fight extremists and said Britain needed to do more to tighten up its borders and help Pakistan stop terrorism from spreading.

Brown told Al Jazeera television that two-thirds of the terror plots investigated in Britain originated from Pakistan.

"Pakistan has got the problems of... groups of terrorists in their country operating from their country," he said.

"We need all the cooperation that we have with the Pakistani authorities to deal with these problems."

Though 10 of the 12 arrested were in Britain on student visas, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas insisted that checks on applicants to weed out extremists were adequate.

Wednesday's raids had to be carried out in broad daylight after Britain's top anti-terror police officer, assistant commissioner Bob Quick, was photographed carrying clearly legible details of the operation. He resigned over the blunder.

The document said the alleged plot was "AQ-driven," meaning Al-Qaeda.

Britain has been on high security alert ever since the July 2005 attacks on the London transport system, which killed 56 people including four suicide bombers.

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Publication:AFP European Edition
Date:Apr 11, 2009
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