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Charities' funds diverted for aircraft plot: Report

Source: PTI
August 13, 2006 16:53 IST
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Certain United Kingdom-based Muslim charities had transferred 'huge sums' to banks in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to pay for the alleged airline bombing plot, a report said on Sunday. It also stated that some of the terror suspects visited al-Qaeda camps in the area, posing as quake relief workers.

Key members of the British terror gang reportedly travelled to Pakistan's lawless border region with Afghanistan to learn bomb-making techniques, the Mail on Sunday said.

It said security services and Pakistani intelligence are now trying to piece together the exact movements of several plotters over recent years.

On Thursday, British police had foiled a suspected al-Qaeda plot to blow up 10 US-bound flights using liquid explosives smuggled in handbags.

Officials believe the trips -- which the men claimed were to carry out charity work with refugees from the Afghan war and victims of the South Asian earthquake last October -- allowed them to meet terror leaders. It was during these trips that the airline plot was conceived and fleshed out, security and intelligence sources now claim, the report said.

The relief camps in PoK were run by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, an outfit India blames for last month's train bombings in Mumbai and which has been designated a terror group by the US State Department and banned by the Pakistani government. The United Nations has classified the group as being associated with al-Qaeda.

The details emerged after it was revealed that two of the men arrested in connection with the plot -- Tayib and Rashid Rauf -- have links to a British aid organisation, Crescent Relief.

There is no suggestion the registered charity is in any way linked to the terror plot, but the two suspects' father Abdul helped set it up.

At least three suspects arrested in last week's anti-terror raids in High Wycombe have been to Pakistan in recent months, according to friends and neighbours.

Brothers Assad and Amjad Sarwar visited the country, as did taxi driver Waseem Kayani. A friend of Assad, 26, and Amjad, 28, said the visit was to help victims of the earthquake in the mountainous region of PoK and North-West Frontier regions.

"They went to help with the charity work out there like a lot of people did. I don't know exactly where they were but they were there for a couple of weeks," he said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, Pakistani officials linked a second British charity to the plot, the report said.

Officials in Karachi claimed the unnamed charity transferred 'huge sums' to banks in the PoK region to pay for the aircraft plot.

They said two British citizens of Pak-origin and a third man, an Islamabad-based builder, had been in receipt of 'earthquake relief' cash. All have been arrested , the report said.

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