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UK supports bin Laden theory

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New York: The massive clear-up and search for clues continues  

LONDON, England -- British intelligence services have also made Osama bin Laden their prime suspect for the U.S. hijack attacks on New York and Washington.

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office confirmed to CNN: "Our own intelligence points to Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect. We do not comment on intelligence matters so cannot say anymore."

Bin Laden has been named by President George W. Bush as the man believed to have masterminded the suicide attacks.

The U.S. has threatened military action against Afghanistan -- where bin Laden is believed to be hiding -- unless it extradites him within three days.

A Pakistani delegation has arrived in Afghanistan to pass on the ultimatum to the ruling Taliban.

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UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told BBC radio on Monday: "I say that it is now clear, not only from what has been said in the United States but from our own separate intelligence assessment, Osama bin Laden and his organisation are plainly the prime suspects for this terrorist outrage.

"They do have to be stopped from further such outrages, which for certain would go on if they were not stopped.

"We face in individuals like Osama bin Laden and the organisation which he has people who do not subscribe to even the most basic moral tenets that the rest of us subscribe to."

Pakistan is one of just three countries to recognise the Islamic Taliban government in Afghanistan but it has also said it will support the U.S. in its declared war on terrorism.

The UK Foreign Office has now warned British citizens not to travel to Pakistan and for those in North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan and the Northern Areas to leave immediately.

The UK Government is preparing to provide finance for relatives of victims of the attack on the World Trade Centre to travel to New York.

At least two close relatives of Britons lost or missing are being offered flights, travel insurance and three nights' accommodation in the city.

Straw said the Foreign Office was working hard to arrange the flights as quickly as possible.

He said: "Because of our close contact with the families, we know, and understand how keen many of the families are to get to New York.

"We are moving as fast as we can to make this happen."

A team of 30 consular staff, 20 British police office and 10 counsellors will be available to support the families in New York.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Tony Blair told CNN that he supported Bush's declaration of war on terrorism.

He said: "Whatever the technical or legal issues of that declaration of war, the fact is we are at war with terrorism."

• Blair: We're all at risk
September 16, 2001
• Taliban faces bin Laden deadline
September 16, 2001

• UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
• U.S. State Department

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