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German police hold airport worker over attacks

HAMBURG, Germany (CNN) -- Police in Hamburg, Germany, say they have detained a male airport worker and questioned a woman in connection with the terror attacks in the U.S.

Germany's top prosecutor also revealed on Thursday that three men of Arab descent who died in the crashes are believed to have lived in the northern German city where they were members of a terrorist cell.

The German Federal Prosecutor's office said two suspects were enrolled as students in at Hamburg Harburg Technical University.

A third suspect now being sought was also thought to have been enrolled there.

The prosecutor said another suspect, thought to have died in the crash of a hijacked plane in Pennsylvania, also may have lived in Hamburg and have been part of the same group.

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The prosecutor's office, which has put more than 60 people on the investigation, said at present no evidence had been found linking the Hamburg suspects to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire accused by the United States of sponsoring terrorists.

Four apartments in Hamburg were searched by police on Thursday. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation had passed the request for the search -- along with names of the people connected to the apartment -- to its German counterpart, the BKA, the federal criminal agency.

The flat in which the male airport worker was detained had been used by a Moroccan man, who police had been seeking.

"We have in the search for a suspect of Moroccan origin searched an apartment in Hamburg and provisionally detained one person, a man," the head of the Hamburg state police, Gerhard Mueller, told Reuters.

Mueller, who said the man had been living in Germany legally, added: "He had a profession that appeared to be very interesting to us."

He said the man had a job "connected to air transport" and had worked at an airport, but refused to give further details.

No weapons or explosives were found during the searches, he said, and security officials had no information about any suspects preparing terrorist attacks while in Germany.

The FBI has been looking into the roles of Mohammed Atta and Marwan Youses Alshehhi in the attacks. Those men, who were living in Florida, resided in Hamburg and left in May. The FBI also said they had been students at Hamburg Harburg Technical University.

They attended Huffman Aviation flight school, in Venice, Florida, for about five months, according to Charlie Voss, a former employee of the school.

A Florida driver's licence was issued to Atta on May 2, 2001, and he previously held an Egyptian driver's licence.

A Mitsubushi car impounded at Logan Airport in Boston was rented by Atta, source said. The car contained materials, including flight manuals, written in Arabic that law enforcement sources called "helpful" to the investigation.

An apartment linked to Atta has been searched in Coral Springs, Florida. Investigators also said they were checking the phone records of each of the addresses searched. They are also attempting to obtain fingerprint and DNA samples, sources said.

A leading German intelligence officer told Bild newspaper that Hamburg was home to Islamic extremists generating cash for Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi dissident.

Intelligence agencies believe Bin Laden masterminded Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Reinhard Wagner, head of the Hamburg office of Germany's domestic intelligence service, said a number of bin Laden's fund-raisers were operating in the city.

"They perform logistic functions for bin Laden, possibly by providing contacts or places to stay," Wagner said.

"We estimate the number of Islamic extremists at over 1,000," Wagner told the newspaper.

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