British lawmakers demand clarity over terror suspect death
AFP - 1 hour 44 minutes ago
LONDON (AFP) - - Two British lawmakers urged the government to reveal Sunday whether it knew in advance about a US missile attack in Pakistan which killed the alleged mastermind of an airplane bombing plot.
British-Pakistani Rashid Rauf died Saturday when a missile hit a tribesman's house in the village of Alikhel, part of a northwestern border district that is a known stronghold of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, a Pakistani security official told AFP.
Rauf was the alleged Al-Qaeda mastermind of a 2006 transatlantic jet bombing conspiracy.
Lawmaker Andrew Dismore, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, will ask the scrutiny body to probe whether British intelligence services had been consulted about the missile strike, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.
"This is a very serious matter, particularly if the attack was based on intelligence provided by the British security agencies," said the member of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's governing Labour Party.
"We can investigate whether British security services had involvement in providing intelligence concerning British nationals in Pakistan. I anticipate this is a matter the committee might like to follow up," he told the broadsheet.
"If there is any suggestion of complicity of the UK security services in this particular incident then that is certainly something we would want to take into account in our work on this subject."
Patrick Mercer, the main opposition Conservative Party's former security spokesman, told the weekly: "This raises the question of how much co-operation the British intelligence agencies provided in what is ultimately the execution of a British subject.
"The government must explain its involvement and its future policy in this area."
Rauf was arrested in 2006 in Pakistan over the bomb plot and 24 people were detained in Britain in a major swoop.
A day later a massive security operation at London Heathrow Airport resulted in mass cancellations for several days, amid fears of a terrorist attack using liquid explosives on London flights bound for North America.
The Foreign Office said Saturday it was probing reports that Rauf had been killed.
"We are currently investigating this at the moment, but we do not have any information," a spokesman said.
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Al-Qaeda militant Rashid Rauf, seen here in 2006, was killed in a US missile attack in northwest Pakistan.
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