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Breakthrough in UK plot, 23 to be charged

The Scotland Yard is focusing its inquiry on a series of emails and 'martyrdom' videos recovered from laptops.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2006 09:47 IST

More than half of the 23 suspects arrested for their alleged involvement in the plot to blow up ten US-bound airliners are expected to be charged with terrorist offences, police sources said on Sunday.

Scotland Yard is 'very buoyant' about the progress of the inquiry, one of the largest counter-terrorism investigations undertaken in Britain, they said.

Police have reportedly uncovered bomb-making equipment, chemicals, a large sum of cash, at least one gun and 'significant' documents during searches in the past 10 days at 50 places in London, High Wycombe and Birmingham.

They are also studying what sources say are 'martyrdom videos' recovered from up to six laptop computers. A series of emails, some from Internet cafes in Reading, are said to have linked some of the suspects.

Although fingerprints and DNA evidence is still being analysed, senior police sources claim the first batch of suspects will be charged with terrorism offences within the next 10 days and more than half of those are expected to be charged in total.

"A majority of these people will face terrorism charges," said one official. "We appreciate that if everybody was released it would prove extremely damaging in terms of relations with the Muslim community."

Much of the forensic work is focusing on King's Wood in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire with officials claiming it is near a 'bomb factory' allegedly used by some of the suspects.