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India holds three in U.S. bomb plot

Abdel Raouf Hawash, right, and Shamin Sarvar at a New Delhi district court on Saturday.
Abdel Raouf Hawash, right, and Shamin Sarvar at a New Delhi district court on Saturday.  


NEW DELHI, India -- Indian police say they have arrested a third person in an alleged plot to blow up U.S. embassies in India and Bangladesh.

The men are part of a group reportedly linked to Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden, who heads the al-Qaeda network suspected of international terrorism.

Police arrested the third suspect after picking up a Sudanese national and his alleged associate, an Indian, who were armed with high-intensity explosives.

Indian authorities say they expect to make more arrests soon.

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A U.S. State Department spokesperson said the United States was looking into the arrests and security has been tightened around the American embassy in the Indian capital.

Osama bin Laden has been indicted in the United States for being the mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in which more than 200 people died.

He has taken refuge in Afghanistan, where the Taliban movement has refused to hand him over to Western powers.

Car bomb

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Police arrested the third man Abbas, an Indian citizen for whom a single name was given, on Saturday in Udaipur, in the desert state of Rajasthan.

Abbas, a car mechanic at a garage near Udaipur's main bus stand, did not have a criminal record but police say he was probably recruited to get a car to carry a bomb.

The Hindu daily newspaper said Abbas had been asked to arrange a vehicle, erase the engine and chassis numbers that can be used to trace the owner and make a place in it for the bomb.

The car bomb would have been left somewhere near the visa section of the embassy, the daily said.

Accomplices

Osama bin Laden is a wanted man
Osama bin Laden is a wanted man  

The two men detained on Friday, Sudanese citizen Abdel Raouf Hawas and an Indian associate Shamim Sarwar, were arrested in New Delhi with six kilograms (13.2 pounds) of RDX (research developed explosives).

They appeared in court on Saturday and a New Delhi court remanded them in police custody for 11 days.

Their arrests came after a tip-off about a possible attack on the U.S. embassy in New Delhi two months ago.

According to the police, Hawash lived in Udaipur for eight years using a student visa.

He moved to New Delhi five months ago to set up a base and was under surveillance for three months.

During interrogation, Hawash said he had received 500,000 rupees (10,638 dollars) as initial payment to execute the plot, they said.

Reuters contributed to this report.





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