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UK officer 'may have been target'

An Italian police officer outside the apartment in Naples
An Italian police officer outside the apartment in Naples

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NAPLES, Italy (CNN) -- Police said on Saturday a top British military officer may have been targeted by Pakistani suspects.

Investigators said they found a Pakistani newspaper clipping with the photo of U.K. Admiral Sir Michael Boyce circled with a pen in the Naples apartment where they arrested 28 Pakistani nationals on Thursday.

The apartment was loaded with explosives, police said.

The clipping with the photo of Boyce has been handed over to Italian magistrates who are investigating whether the suspects have links to al Qaeda or other radical Islamic terrorist groups.

Boyce is scheduled to visit NATO's installations here in mid-March.

Investigators said they have not concluded whether the suspects were planning to attack him.

Police officials told CNN that investigators have been unable to identify some of the arrested suspects, because many have no documents.

They dismissed initial reports that they may have uncovered an al Qaeda cell, saying that it would be unlikely for 28 would-be terrorists to live together in the same apartment.

However, one police official told CNN he is not ruling out the possibility that one or two of the suspects may be terrorists who have infiltrated a larger group of illegal immigrants.

Italian police charged all 28 Pakistani nationals with illegal possession of explosives and belonging to organization intent to commit terrorist acts.

-- CNN Correspondent Alessio Vinci contributed to this story.


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