Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Al Qaeda operatives appeared in UK court on charges of murder and terror attacks

Eight British terror suspects charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a plot linked to financial targets in the United States have appeared in a UK court.

The men, all charged with conspiracy to murder, and planning to use radioactive materials, chemicals, toxic gases or explosives in an attack, were remanded in custody to appear at Britain's top criminal court, the Old Bailey, on August 25.

One of the men, Dhiren Barot, 32, was also accused of having plans for four financial targets -- the Prudential building in New Jersey, the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup headquarters in New York, and the International Monetary Fund in Washington.

The other suspects are Abdul Aziz Jalil, 31, Omar Abdur Rehman, 20, Zia Ul Haq, 25, Nadeem Tarmohamed, 26, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, 24, Quaisir Shaffi, 25 and Junade Feroze, 28.

A ninth man, Matthew Philip Monks, has been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon and will appear in court at a date yet to be determined.

Earlier this week U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the Justice Department had been working closely with British authorities and other allies in the war on terror on this matter, reports CNN.

Britain has arrested more than 600 terror suspects since the Sept. 11 attacks but has charged fewer than 100 and convicted only 15 of terrorism offences.

The raids two weeks ago -- carried out in evident haste after the U.S. alert, with some suspects pulled from shops and others held in a high-speed car chase -- had a more urgent tone than previous anti-terrorism swoops.

U.S. officials said they imposed the alert in the United States because they had discovered reports showing detailed plans of the financial targets, following the July arrest in Pakistan of Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, 25.

Pakistani intelligence sources say Khan, an al Qaeda communications expert, cooperated with the authorities to help catch his al Qaeda contacts abroad.

But the undercover sting operation was compromised when his name appeared in U.S. newspapers the morning after Washington announced its alert. Britain swooped on the suspects the next day in coordinated raids across the country, informs Reuters.

ABC news says that a U.S. official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Barot is the suspected al-Qaida figure previously identified as Abu Eisa al-Hindi or Abu Musa al-Hindi.

After the Aug. 1 terror alert involving those buildings and the World Bank in Washington, the U.S. government acknowledged it had no evidence of plans for imminent attacks. The charges specified that Barot had the plans as early as Feb. 19, 2001.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Tuesday that federal authorities were considering whether to press charges in the United States against the men and to seek their extradition.