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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Five arrested over 'shoe bomber' ties
The shoes Richard Reid was wearing on board the flight in December 2001
Mr Reid is believed to have had help making the explosives
French anti-terrorist police have arrested five people in connection with an investigation into the suspected shoe bomber, Richard Reid.

The detainees were rounded up in the Paris suburbs of Mantes-la-Jolie and Evry on an order from the city's anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Brugiere.

Police said they found three weapons during the operation, but it remains unclear how they may be connected to Mr Reid, who is accused of trying to blow up a transatlantic airliner with explosives hidden in his shoes.

Two of those detained are believed to be of Pakistani origin, and the other three North African.

They are the second group to be arrested in France in connection with Mr Reid.

Earlier this year, five Pakistanis were picked up on suspicion of accommodating the suspect before his alleged suicide bombing attempt on an American Airlines Paris-to-Miami flight last December.

Denials

Mr Reid, a Briton converted to Islam, is being tried in the US on charges of attempted murder and attempted destruction of an airliner.

American Airlines Flight 63
The explosives could have brought the plane down
The indictment also alleges that he was trained by the al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan.

He allegedly tried to set fire to explosives in his shoes after boarding the flight, but 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 formula from the internet.

A date for his trial has tentatively been set to start on 4 November.

He appeared in court on Wednesday in Boston at a pre-trial hearing on a defence motion to suppress an alleged confession he made after his arrest.

His lawyers argue that it should not be admitted because it was made after he had been given sedatives and they interfered with his ability to make a statement.

See also:

12 Jun 02 | Americas
18 Apr 02 | Europe
05 Mar 02 | Americas
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