Page last updated at 04:26 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 05:26 UK

FBI arrests three over New York bomb inquiry

Agents search homes
Agents arrested three men and are searching locations in four states

US authorities investigating the attempted bombing in New York's Times Square have arrested three men during searches over four US states.

The justice department said they were being held over alleged immigration violations after raids in Maine, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

The US attorney general said the three were linked to a man already charged with the attempted attack on 1 May.

Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shazhad, 30, lived in Connecticut.

There's at least a basis to believe that one of the things that they did was provide him with funds and so we're trying to trace back
Eric Holder
US attorney general

Authorities say Mr Shazhad has waived his US legal rights and is co-operating with federal officials.

Two of the men were arrested in suburbs outside Boston, Massachusetts, and a third in Maine.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press news agency that two of the men taken into custody from a house near Boston, Massachusetts, were from Pakistan.

The official said one of the men had been arrested because he had overstayed his visa.

The second had already been awaiting a ruling from an immigration court hearing on whether he would be removed from the country.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in Washington: "These are people who are connected to Mr Shahzad, we're still trying to determine exactly what the nature of that connection was.

"There's at least a basis to believe that one of the things that they did was provide him with funds and so we're trying to trace back."

He called the arrests a "significant" step.

President Obama on Thursday met police officers who responded to the attempted bombing in Times Square.

"I know folks are busy, but I just wanted to come by and say thank you," said the president.

'No immediate threat'

In its statement on the latest arrests, the FBI said it could "confirm that search warrants have been executed in several locations in the North-east in connection with the investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing".

Faisal Shahzad, taken from social networking site
Faisal Shazhad, 30, has already been charged with the attempted bombing

It added: "This search is the product of evidence that has been gathered in the investigation subsequent to the attempted Times Square bombing and [does] not relate to any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States."

The FBI is carrying out search warrants at locations around Boston, Massachusetts, Cherry Hill and Camden in New Jersey, and Centerreach and Shirley in New York.

Police have also cordoned off a house in Watertown, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb.

Vinny Lacerra, who lives across the street from the house concerned, said he had heard someone yell "FBI! Put your hands up!" at 0600 local time (1100 GMT).

Mr Lacerra told the Associated Press he had seen 15 to 20 FBI agents with their guns drawn outside the house.

He then saw a man taken out of the building in handcuffs about 15 minutes later.

Agents have also recovered a Honda car from a Mobil petrol station on Harvard Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, another suburb of Boston.

The vehicle is reportedly linked to the address in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Dean Boyd of the justice department said the searches were the result of evidence collected during a 13-day investigation.

Mr Shazhad has told officials he acted alone. But investigators have uncovered a possible link over the attempted bombing to the Pakistani Taliban and a Kashmiri Islamist group.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the failed attempt in Times Square. If this claim is true, the attempt would be the group's first act in the US.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific