UK investigates 24 FBI suspects
LONDON, England -- British police say they are investigating more than 20 people at the request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of its hunt for those behind the September 11 attacks.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Bunn, of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, told reporters on Thursday that the FBI had made more than 200 requests for help to British police and about 24 names were being checked out.
He said three people, of whom two are in custody in Britain, were believed to have "very strong links" to the hijackings and Osama bin Laden, whom U.S. authorities have identified as prime suspect in the hijackings that killed more than 5,000 people.
Bunn stressed that those named were not necessarily considered suspects in the attacks, but they were all "being looked at and are the subject of investigation."
He said: "Names that have come forward from the FBI go into a couple of dozen.
"We have had 200 requests from the FBI which have resulted in something like 800 individual inquiries."
At the top of the list is Algerian pilot Lotfi Raissi, in custody in London fighting extradition to the United States, where he has been accused of training four of the attack pilots.
Last week a British court heard that Raissi had close ties with Hani Hanjour, believed to be piloting the commercial airliner that crashed into the Pentagon.
The second is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national who had lived in Britain. He was arrested in the United States in August after he aroused suspicion by trying to buy time on a jumbo jet flight simulator.
The third is a Saudi-born man in his 40s arrested under the Terrorism Act in Birmingham last month but released when detectives found no evidence of any terrorist activities.
Scotland Yard is continuing to investigate the man, in whom police sources say the FBI is very interested.
Police sources said some of the others being investigated included people who may have sat next to the hijackers or other suspects on previous flights.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
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