Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Sunday, 23 November 2008

MP urges clarity on Rauf 'death'

Rashid Rauf in Islamabad (December 2006)
Rashid Rauf escaped from police custody in Pakistan in 2007

A senior MP has questioned whether the UK government knew in advance of a US missile strike in Pakistan that reportedly killed a UK militant.

Rashid Rauf, from Birmingham, was linked to an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic jets using liquid bombs.

The Foreign Office is yet to confirm if he died in the attack and refuses to discuss whether it shares intelligence.

Conservative MP and former shadow security minister Patrick Mercer says its policies need to be made clear.

Pakistani media said on Saturday that Mr Rauf had been killed in a US air strike in North Waziristan, a haven for militants and the Taleban.

Under human rights laws, the UK refuses to deport suspects to countries where they may face torture or the death penalty, but Mr Mercer said the US strike had led to "ultimately the execution of a British subject".

He said: "We must have a clear statement from the government about British counter-terrorism operations in these circumstances.

"The government must be consistent and there must be no grey areas."

Another MP, Labour's Andrew Dismore, is to ask the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, which he chairs, to investigate whether intelligence services had been consulted.

"This is a very serious matter, particularly if the attack was based on intelligence provided by the British security agencies," he told the Sunday Times.

"We can investigate whether British security services had involvement in providing intelligence concerning British nationals in Pakistan."

He said if there was "any suggestion of complicity of the UK security services in this particular incident, then that is certainly something we would want to take into account in our work on this subject".

Murder suspect

Several Pakistani TV channels reported that Rauf was one of five people killed on Saturday by a presumed US attack in North Waziristan region in Pakistan's remote north-western Federally Administered Tribal Area.

Map showing North Waziristan

Unnamed Pakistani intelligence sources said that a wanted Egyptian militant, Abu Zubair al-Masri, was among the others killed.

News of the alleged liquid bomb plot paralysed global air travel in August 2006, prompting authorities to implement stringent security measures at airports around the world.

Three men were convicted in the UK in September this year of conspiracy to murder.

Rauf was arrested in Pakistan on 9 August 2006 at the request of US authorities.

Terrorism charges were eventually dropped but he remained under detention in Pakistan as a "preventative measure".

West Midlands Police in the UK were seeking Rauf's extradition from Pakistan as a suspect in the murder of his uncle, who was killed six years ago.

Thought to be in his 20s and have Pakistani citizenship through family connections, Rauf escaped custody in December 2007 while on his way to an extradition hearing under police guard.

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