Magazine article Newsweek

London Plot: U.K. Suspect Released

Magazine article Newsweek

London Plot: U.K. Suspect Released

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Hosenball and Emily Flynn Vencat

The British investigation into a plot to bomb flights from Britain to the United States using homemade explosives took a strange twist last week when authorities set free a supposedly key suspect arrested during Scotland Yard raids earlier in August. Two U.K. counterterrorism officials, who asked for anonymity because of the continuing investigation, confirmed to NEWSWEEK that police had released 22-year-old Tayib Rauf of Birmingham, England. Tayib is the younger brother of Rashid Rauf, an alleged mastermind of the airline plot whose arrest by authorities in Pakistan, according to some U.S. and U.K. officials, forced U.K. authorities to round up British-based suspects earlier than they had originally planned.

Initially, U.K. and U.S. officials suggested that both Rauf brothers were significant participants in the plot. Last week, however, officials said that Tayib was only a "van driver" who might have been ignorant of the plot. Tayib, the two U.K. counterterrorism officials said, was released because British prosecutors believed police had insufficient evidence to convict him on criminal charges.

The officials indicated, however, that Tayib was still likely to be closely monitored by British intelligence. Rauf family friend Mohammed Nazam told NEWSWEEK: "Tayib's here in Birmingham and he's OK ... But he needs a few days." Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities have detained the Rauf brothers' father, Abdul Rauf, and U. …

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