Seventh al-Qa'ida suspect held over ricin plot

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The Independent Online

A seventh member of a gang of suspected al-Qa'ida supporters has been arrested in London in connection with a terror plot to manufacture a deadly poison.

A seventh member of a gang of suspected al-Qa'ida supporters has been arrested in London in connection with a terror plot to manufacture a deadly poison.

Two suspects who were living in the flat where the lethal toxin, ricin, was being made were revealed yesterday to be teenage asylum-seekers.

Anti-terrorist officers continued to search for other suspects and a small cache of ricin. Further arrests are expected in the next few days, although police and security sources have dismissed reports that they are looking for three key men. There is a small number of people still being sought, some of whom have been named by the suspects in detention.

The latest arrest was made in north London at 4pm on Tuesday, although details were only released yesterday. The suspect is an Algerian man aged 33. Forensic scientists were searching his home last night, although no poison has been recovered.

The missing ricin had been made from castor oil beans in a one-bedroom flat in Wood Green. The discovery during raids on Sunday was the first hard evidence that a group with possible links to al-Qa'ida was producing chemical weapons in Britain.

Two asylum-seekers, aged 16 or 17, were among the six Algerian men arrested on Sunday. They had been living at the flat where the ricin was discovered. Both were housed by Islington Borough Council. One is an Algerian and the other has an Ethiopian passport, although he is also Algerian. A spokesman for the council said the teenagers had been placed in accommodation as required by legislation.

Iona Viduva, who lived beneath the flat, said: "They were no trouble to my family, they were very quiet. Sometimes there were two or three of them and the other times there were five."