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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 05:17 GMT 06:17 UK
Five arrested in shoe bomb case
The shoes Richard Reid was wearing on board the flight in December 2001
Prosecutors say the device could have downed the plane
Anti-terrorist police in France have arrested five Pakistanis suspected of helping the British al-Qaeda suspect Richard Reid - the man accused of trying to blow up a transatlantic airliner with explosives hidden in his shoes.

Richard Reid
Reid allegedly told investigators he had acted alone
The five were picked up on the orders of a leading French anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere.

The suspects are thought to have fed and housed Mr Reid before his alleged suicide bombing attempt on a Paris-to-Miami flight last December.

One of those held was later released.

The other four can be legally held for up to 96 hours before arraignment before a judge.

In previous investigations, Judge Bruguiere has detained minor players for questioning in the hope that they will lead to key figures.

Trial date

Mr Reid, a Briton converted to Islam, is accused of attempted murder and attempted destruction of an airliner - he is being tried in the United States.

He denies the charges.

Charges against Mr Reid
Attempted use of weapon of mass destruction
Attempted murder
Attempted homicide
Placing an explosive device on an aircraft
Interfering with a flight crew (two counts)
Attempted destruction of an aircraft
Using a destructive device
Attempted wrecking of a mass transportation vehicle

  Click here to read a profile of Richard Reid

A date for his trial has tentatively been set to start on 4 November - although lawyers will meet again in June for another pre-trial conference.

Mr Reid allegedly tried to set fire to explosives in his shoes while on an American Airlines Paris-to-Miami flight.

He was overpowered by passengers and sedated by an on-board doctor until the flight was diverted to Boston's Logan Airport, where he was arrested.

The FBI says it has discovered forensic evidence that indicates Mr Reid had help making the explosives.

But Mr Reid is said to have told investigators that he acted alone in building the device, using a recipe from the internet.

See also:

05 Mar 02 | Americas
Prosecutors to simulate shoe bomb
28 Dec 01 | Americas
Shoe bomb 'came from Netherlands'
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