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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Algerian suspect 'trained hijackers'
Lotfi Raissi
Lotfi Raissi (right) arrives in court
An Algerian pilot detained in Britain instructed four of the hijackers involved in the suicide attacks on the United States, a London court has been told.

Twenty-seven-year-old Lotfi Raissi faces extradition to the US after British police re-arrested him on an international warrant on Friday.

He was a lead instructor of four of the pilots that were responsible for the hijackings

Arvinda Sambir
The FBI want to question Mr Raissi, who has been living close to London's Heathrow airport, over the 11 September attacks in which more than 6,000 people were killed.

His detention is the latest development in the international effort against terrorism.

Six Algerians arrested in Spain on suspicion of links with Osama Bin Laden, considered by the US as the prime suspect in the attacks, are been held for further questioning by the high court in Madrid.

Spanish police say they found videos belonging to the suspects which contained images of attacks in Algeria and Chechnya and training camps in Afghanistan.

Lotfi Raissi was among four people arrested in the UK last Friday.

"He was a lead instructor of four of the pilots that were responsible for the hijackings," prosecutor Arvinda Sambir told Friday's court hearing in London.

She said Mr Raissi had trained the hijackers of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

'Conspiracy to murder'

Mr Raissi visited the US on a number of occasions between June and July this year "to ensure that pilots were capable and trained" for the hijackings, the court heard.

Lotfi Raissi
Lotfi Raissi - denies involvement in the hijackings

The warrant from the FBI details charges of obtaining a pilot's licence dishonestly but more charges are likely.

"It is no secret that conspiracy to murder is being looked at," Mr Sambir told the court.

But Mr Raissi's defence counsel, Richard Egan, said his client adamantly denied any involvement in the attacks and was "confident he would be absolved of all involvement".

Mr Raissi's wife and brother were also arrested by London police but subsequently released without charge. Another man is being held but has not been charged.

Meanwhile, police in Leicester in the English Midlands continue to question three men in connection with alleged plans to attack the US embassy in Paris.

Identities mystery

In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has appealed for more information on the 19 suspected suicide hijackers who carried out the four attacks on 11 September.

Only those, the believers who know the life after death and the reward after death, would be the ones who will be seeking death

Letter from suspected hijacker
The FBI says some of them had links with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Photographs of the suspects have now been published on the FBI's website, but the US investigators admit that some of the identities remain a mystery and they are still trying to confirm their real names.

More than 300 people have now been detained in the US, but so far no charges have been laid against anyone in connection with the hijackings.

'Hijacker's final instructions'

The US Justice Department believes at least eight of the 19 suspects may have been Saudi nationals.

Hijack suspects from American Airlines Flight 11
The FBI has released photos of hijack suspects
FBI Director Robert Mueller said the authorities were trying to determine "whether, when these individuals came to the United States, these were their real names or they changed their names for use with false identification in the United States".

Investigators have found a handwritten document left behind by one of the suspects - Mohamed Atta - which included Islamic prayers and instructions for a last night of life, the Washington Post reports.

The five-page document, written in Arabic, contained practical reminders to bring "knives, your will, IDs, your passport" and to "make sure nobody is following you". It was found in a piece of luggage that did not make it onto Atta's fatal flight, the paper said.

The document said that "only those, the believers who know the life after death and the reward after death, would be the ones who will be seeking death".

The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"The men believed they were on a holy mission"
See also:

28 Sep 01 | Americas
The hijack suspects
21 Sep 01 | South Asia
Bin Laden's options
20 Sep 01 | South Asia
US rejects Bin Laden ruling
27 Sep 01 | Americas
Bush urges return to the skies
27 Sep 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Afghanistan's future
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