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British Authorities to Ask Judge to Extend Detention of Terrorist Suspects


British authorities were set to ask a judge Wednesday for permission to continue holding suspects in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound passenger jets.

Under British law, police have until the end of the day today to charge the suspects, free them, or get a warrant to continue holding them. Suspects can be held for up to 28 days without being charged.

Twenty-four people are in British custody, and seven others are jailed in Pakistan. A British newspaper, The Times, says British diplomats in Islamabad are seeking the urgent extradition of one of the suspects, Briton Rashid Rauf. Pakistan has described the 25-year-old as a central figure in the alleged plot.

Interior ministers from several European Union countries are to meet in London today to review the struggle against terrorism. Officials from Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia will attend.

Authorities say the alleged terror plot foiled last week aimed to blow up as many as 10 U.S.-bound airliners with liquid explosives.

British and U.S. authorities say that if the plan were carried out, the casualty toll would have rivaled that of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States. Nearly 3,000 people died in those attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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