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Pakistani Authorities Question Suspects In London Probe

London grieving the bombing victims 21 July 2005 -- Pakistani authorities are said to be questioning scores of suspected Islamic militants who have been detained as part of a crackdown in connection with the investigation of the 7 July bombings in London, which killed at least 56 people.

More than 200 suspects are reported to have been arrested in Pakistan in recent days.

The British daily "The Times" has reported that a leading suspect, Haroon Rashid Aswat, is among those being questioned in Pakistan. The report says Aswat -- suspected of links with Al-Qaeda -- phoned the suspected suicide bombers just hours before the attacks in London. The Pakistani authorities have not confirmed they are holding a man by that name.

In reaction to the arrests, Pakistani fundamentalist Muslim parties have called for a national day of protest tomorrow. Reports say the six-party Muttahida Majlis-e Amal alliance urged followers to rally outside local mosques.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the British-born suicide bombers -- three of whom are of Pakistani descent -- received training or other help from extremists with Pakistani links.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday that his government is considering holding an international conference on ways to take joint action to stamp out the Islamic extremism that can lead to terrorism.


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