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London arrests made in connection to attack

(CNN) -- British police were continuing to hold four people arrested in connection with the United States hijack attacks as international efforts to track those responsible for the assaults began yielding suspects.

Police apprehended two men and a woman in west London in a 3 a.m. Friday raid, and then arrested a fourth man in the West Midlands around 7 p.m., the Scotland Yard said

All four were Saturday being questioned in a central London police station, police said.

Of the first three arrested, a 27-year-old man and 25-year-old woman were living together at one residence, and a 29-year-old man was picked up at another residence.

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The fourth man, in his mid-40s, was picked up in Birmingham, the UK's second largest city and one with a large ethnic population.

Police can hold the suspects for 48 hours before having to apply to the courts for an extension and after seven days officers have to decide whether to charge or release.

Authorities declined to explain how the suspects may have been linked to the September 11 hijackings of the two jetliners that were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center 18 minutes apart.

No nationalities were given of those arrested.

Elsewhere in Europe, French police on Friday detained eight people suspected of belonging to extremist Islamic groups thought to be planning attacks on U.S. interests in France, that nation's Interior Ministry said.

In the United States, a federal judge in Detroit, Michigan, denied bond Friday for three men arrested this week in connection with the investigation into the attacks September 11 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In Boston, Massachusetts, Gov. Jane Swift and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino learned from U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft that the city could be the site of terrorist strikes in coming days, though Ashcroft stressed that no specific threats had been made.

In other developments:

-- Travel bookings Web sites Travelocity.com and Expedia.com confirmed with CNN on Friday that they have been approached by investigators to provide reservation data.

-- The United States will soon present a "thoughtful presentation of the case so far" against suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden to Pakistan's government and its president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a senior Western diplomat said Friday.

-- FBI Director Robert Mueller said doubt has been cast on the identities of some of the suicide hijackers.

Major breakthrough?

The men denied bond Friday in Detroit lived in an apartment where the FBI found material with Arabic notations about an "American base in Turkey" and an "American foreign minister," authorities said. Arrested on Monday, they are identified in court documents as Karim Koubriti, 23; Ahmed Hannan, 33; and Farouk Ali-Haimoud, 21. They were described as resident aliens and Arabs.

Authorities charged them Tuesday with identity fraud, misuse of visas and conspiracy to commit those violations. The men will be held until their next court date on September 28.

FBI agents also found identification badges for two of the men for an on-board airline caterer at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. They also had diagrams of an airport flight line, including aircraft and runways, agents said.

"I think it would be far too early to indicate that this is some sort of major breakthrough in the case," said Ashcroft. "But we are going to pursue every lead and we will prosecute every infraction."

The men were arrested after FBI agents went to the apartment Monday in search of another man, Nabil Al-Marabh, 34. He has been identified as a potential suspect or associate of the 19 hijackers in last week's attacks.

Al-Marabh's name was on the mailbox outside the apartment, but he was not inside, said police. The three said they did not know him, claiming they had lived in the apartment for two weeks; Al-Marabh, they suggested to authorities, may have lived there previously.

Searching the apartment, officials said they found a "World Service Authority" passport, Social Security card, visa and alien identification card in the name of Michael Saisa -- all phony documents, the federal investigators later determined.

Al-Marabh was later arrested outside Chicago, Illinois, FBI officials said Thursday. He had a commercial driver's license -- it was issued by the state of Michigan on September 11, 2000 -- which allowed Al-Marabh to operate vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more, said an FBI official. "He can drive a big truck," said the official.

French open investigation

In Paris, France, counter-intelligence officers, acting on orders of magistrates probing terrorist threats made against U.S. interests, apprehended eight people. According to French authorities, who launched their probe a day before the attacks in Washington and New York, the U.S. embassy in Paris was among the possible targets.

Police made the arrests Friday after Djamel Begal, an Algerian held in the United Arab Emirates, was alleged to have confessed to planning an attack on the U.S. embassy in France, police sources said. He gave names and addresses of suspect living in Paris, said police.

Possible link to arrests in Belgium

Police are investigating links between the Begal, the eight people arrested in Paris and two arrests last week in Brussels, Belgium, where authorities said they apprehended two members of a radical Muslim group two days after the U.S. attacks.

One of the two suspects, a North African, had lists of potential targets, including the U.S. embassy in Paris, Belgian authorities said. He and the second man were charged Saturday, September 15, with possession of weapons of war. Authorities said they were not ruling out a link between the two and Osama bin Laden.

Also, French media reported that French counter-intelligence officials alerted American authorities to threats against U.S. interests in France a day before the September 11 attacks.

A threat to Boston?

On Friday, officials in Boston met to review any reported threats, but could not find evidence the city was in specific danger, said Menino. He spoke with Ashcroft Thursday morning, but would not say what issues they discussed. "We couldn't find any basis for it," the mayor said Friday.

U.S. authorities have said that September 22 -- Saturday -- emerged as an important date in evidence found during investigations into the hijackers.

Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker confirmed that Ashcroft and the governor also had talked. She refused Friday to comment on her discussion with Ashcroft.

Online booking sites under review

Investigators also are probing how the hijacking suspects obtained their flight tickets.

"We, and a lot of other travel companies, have been asked for information from authorities related to the September 11 attacks," said Travelocity.com spokesperson Al Comeaux. "We are doing all we can to help them."

Comeaux would not elaborate.

Another travel bookings site, Expedia.com, was served with a federal subpoena within the last few days to obtain information related to the case, a company spokesperson told CNN.

"We are cooperating fully and completely," said Mitch Robinson, marketing manager for Expedia.com.

He would not comment on specifics of the subpoena, and the FBI would also not comment on either request for online information.

-- CNN Paris Bureau Chief Peter Humi and CNN.com Science and Technology Editor Daniel Sieberg contributed to this report.






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