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US Expected To Take Custody Of al Qaida Suspects in Bosnia - 2002-01-18

U.S. troops in Bosnia are expected to take custody soon of six Arabs suspected of terrorist links whose release has been ordered by a Bosnian court.

Pentagon officials say the six men, five Algerians and a Yemeni, will be taken into custody one at a time as they are released.

The six are suspected of having links to the al-Qaida terrorist network and were detained in Bosnia in October. Police acting on U.S. provided intelligence seized the men following threats that led to the closure of both the American and British Embassies.

But Pentagon officials say a Bosnian court ordered their release on grounds their continued detention was unjustified.

These officials decline to discuss how the six will be handled after they are turned over to U.S. troops.

However one defense official indicates they could eventually be transferred to the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. That is where some of the Taleban and al-Qaida detainees from Afghanistan are being taken for further interrogation and to face possible trial by a special U.S. military commission.