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No retrial decision yet in terror case

Sept. 9, 2008 at 3:18 PM

LONDON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- British police were forced to make early arrests in an alleged airline bomb plot, leaving them with a weak case, a former counter-terrorism chief said Tuesday.

A jury in London convicted three of eight defendants Monday of conspiracy to commit murder. But jurors were unable to reach verdicts on four members of the group on any charges, while acquitting the alleged ringleader, and also couldn't agree on the major charge that the eight planned to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners, using bombs concealed in soft-drink bottles.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that they would discuss whether to retry the men with police before making a decision, The Guardian reported.

Peter Clarke, who retired this year as head of the counter-intelligence command, wrote an analysis in The Times of London. He said that the arrest in Pakistan in August 2006 of Rashid Rauf forced British police to make arrests so that potential defendants would not destroy evidence or go into hiding.

Rauf was allegedly arrested at the request of U.S. agencies. British police had been planning to wait, tracking the suspects, Clarke said.

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