Siguen detenidos 23 implicados en complot de Londres

LONDON, England (CNN) — A British judge has allowed police to continue holding 23 of the 24 suspects in an alleged plot to blow up commercial jetliners over the Atlantic through next week, Metropolitan Police said late Wednesday.
The ruling gives police the authority to hold two of the suspects until August 21, and the rest until August 23.
Afterwards, Scotland Yard said that a person arrested on Tuesday as part of its investigation was released without charge, The Associated Press reports.
Another suspect was released without charge on August 11.
Wednesday’s ruling was largely a procedural move. Under British anti-terrorism laws, police can hold suspects for up to 28 days without filing charges, but they must put the detention before a judge periodically.
The hearing was held behind closed doors and attended only by the suspects’ lawyers, investigators and government officials, The Associated Press reports.
Experts say the primary reason police could use nearly a month to complete a probe is because of the complexity of investigations into the alleged plot to smuggle liquid explosives hidden in hand luggage aboard flights.
«You’ve got laptops. You have to bring in translators to translate all the documents in there. And sometimes it’s inopportune to release all your suspects — particularly terrorism suspects — while all that is being downloaded and translated,» Cliff Knuckey, a retired police detective who has worked on terrorism investigations, told the Associated Press.
«Terrorism investigations are different, simply because you’re dealing with people who will do their best not to compromise their plans and who will do anything not to be compromised.»
Previously, police were able to detain people suspected of terrorism offenses for 14 days only. But the new legislation, which became law earlier this year, also created new offenses, including preparing a terrorist act, giving or receiving terrorist training, and selling or spreading terrorist publications.
Prime Minister Tony Blair failed to receive parliamentary approval for his own plan to interrogate terrorist suspects for up to 90 days.
Authorities said the suspects plotted to use liquid explosives to blow up as many as 10 trans-Atlantic flights, using commercial electronic devices as detonators.
The plot’s disclosure last week sparked heightened terror alerts in both Britain and the United States.
Authorities have banned passengers from bringing nearly all liquids or gels aboard aircraft and tightened passenger screening rules, snarling airports on both sides of the ocean.
Home Secretary John Reid, Britain’s top law-and-order official, acknowledged that some suspects would likely not be charged with major criminal offenses but said there was mounting evidence of a «substantial nature» to back the allegations. (Full story)
His comments came after meeting with the French, German and Finnish interior ministers, Nicolas Sarkozy, Wolfgang Schaeuble and Kari Rajamaki, respectively, and EU Commission Vice President Franco Frattini. They later announced the allocation of $235,000 to research the best ways to detect liquid-based explosives.
Two top Pakistani intelligence agents said Wednesday that the would-be bombers wanted to carry out an al Qaeda-style attack to mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11 strikes but were too «inexperienced» to carry out the plot, AP reports.
The agents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that if the terror cell members arrested in Pakistan and Britain had appropriate weapons and explosives training, they could have emulated attacks like the ones on September 11, 2001.
The detainees in Britain and Pakistan had not attended terror-training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan and had relied on information gleaned from text books on how to make bombs, the officials said, according to AP.
Meanwhile, air service nudged closer to normal at major London airports, but British Airways said it canceled 35 flights from Heathrow and another 11 at Gatwick.
There was new concern about security after a 12-year-old boy managed to board a plane at Gatwick Airport on Monday without a passport, ticket or boarding pass.
He was detected by cabin crew and removed before the flight took off. Authorities said he went through a full security screening before boarding the flight and he did not pose a threat at any time. (Full story)
Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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