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Suspect in plane plot escapes

He may have role in a plan to blow up planes from Britain to the U.S.

Associated Press
Published December 16, 2007


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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A British suspect in an alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic jetliners escaped from police custody in Pakistan on Saturday, officials said.

Rashid Rauf fled after appearing before a judge, said Khalid Pervez, a city police official.

Police teams were driving around the area in search of Rauf, who Pervez said had managed to open his handcuffs and evade two police guards who were taking him back to jail in the nearby city of Rawalpindi.

"We do not know how he escaped. But we do know he has escaped and the two policemen have been taken into custody for negligence," Pervez told the Associated Press.

Rauf, who is of Pakistani origin, was arrested in August 2006 on a tip from British investigators. He has been described as a key suspect in a purported plot to blow up jetliners flying from Britain to the United States which prompted a major security alert at airports worldwide and increased restrictions on carry-on items.

Rauf was arrested and charged in Pakistan with possessing chemicals that could be used in making explosives and with carrying forged travel documents.

The prosecution later withdrew the case against him, though he remained in jail awaiting a decision on a British extradition request.

[Last modified December 16, 2007, 02:15:49]


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