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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Suspects held after Pakistan raid
The authorities in Pakistan say they have arrested seven foreigners near the Afghan border on suspicion of links to militant groups.

The four men and three women were held after a raid in Charsadda district near the north-western city of Peshawar.

Their names and nationalities have not been released. Officials say they posed as Afghans but knew little Pashto.

Earlier this month, Libyan al-Qaeda suspect, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, was captured in north-western Pakistan.

The authorities say they carried out the latest raid after receiving information that some people of "Middle Eastern origin" were living in Charsadda district.

Suspects

Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led war on terror, has deployed about 70,000 troops to the Afghan border region in its operation against suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.

Around 600 al-Qaeda suspects have so far been rounded up. Islamabad believes hundreds of militants, including Arabs, Afghans and Central Asians, are hiding in the area.

The arrest of Abu Faraj al-Libbi was the most significant since Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, in 2003.

Libbi was wanted in connection with attempts on the life of Pakistan's president.

At the time of his arrest, he was described as the number three in al-Qaeda although some security analysts have cast doubt on his importance.

Since his capture he has been held and questioned at a secret location.


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