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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 12:22 GMT
France holds 'al-Qaeda suspects'
French police are questioning five men suspected of links to al-Qaeda's branch in Algeria, reports from France say.

They are part of a group of eight held in France earlier this week, reports quoting police officials say. Three other men have since been released.

The men are believed to be members of a support network for al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM).

The AQLIM has said it was behind bomb attacks on UN offices in Algeria on 11 December that killed nearly 40 people.

Seventeen UN employees died in the bombings in the Algerian capital, Algiers. It was the deadliest attack on the UN since 2003, when 22 were killed by a bomb in Baghdad.

'Computers seized'

The eight men were arrested in raids in the Paris area and in the northern city of Rouen on Tuesday, French police officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They said the suspects were French and North African. Three of the men were released after questioning on Wednesday.

During the raids, investigators seized computers and telecommunications equipment, France's Le Figaro newspaper reported.

The equipment was planned to be sent to the AQLIM's hideouts in Algeria, the newspaper said.

The five suspects are currently being held at France's intelligence headquarters outside Paris, police officials said.

They had reportedly been under surveillance for some time.

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