Sat, Jul 07, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Five questioned in Australia over UK bombing attacks

AGENCIES , SYDNEY

Police in Australia have questioned five foreign doctors and seized computers in raids connected with last week's car bomb attacks in the UK, authorities said yesterday.

The raids came after an Indian doctor was arrested on Monday in eastern Queensland state and after at least five other doctors were detained in the UK in connection with the failed car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow.

"They are migrant doctors, of similar nationality and background to the other doctors that are being questioned," said Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, stressing that none of the men questioned in Western Australia had been arrested.

"This is not an investigation into medical practitioners per se, it is an investigation in support of the London Metropolitan Police," he said adding that there was no heightened threat to Australia.

"Everything is under control, we don't have any increased threat here," he told reporters.

Two of the doctors being held in Britain in the failed terrorist plot tried to get jobs in Australia, where a third suspect -- a relative of one of the pair -- was arrested last week, officials said yesterday.

The two, Sabeel Ahmed and Khalid Ahmed, were turned down by authorities in Western Australia state because their medical qualifications were not up to standard, a state official said.

None of the three foreign doctors were denied entry for security reasons, prompting questions about whether Australia's screening processes are stringent enough.

A judge granted police permission late on Thursday to hold Indian Muhammad Haneef, 27, without charge for another four days in connection to the failed bombings in the UK.

A British counterterrorism expert traveled to the northeastern city of Brisbane on Thursday to question Haneef.

Haneef was arrested on Monday as he tried to board a flight from Brisbane with a one-way ticket, believed to be to India, where his wife just had a baby.

Sabeel Ahmed, 26, worked at Halton Hospital in northern England, where Haneef also worked in 2005. The two men are related, Sabeel Ahmed's family in India said, without specifying exactly how.

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