Suspect held by police is innocent, claims brother

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The brother of Assad Sarwar, one of the suspects arrested on suspicion of plotting to blow up transatlantic airlines, said Mr Sarwar had attended study groups run by an Islamic sect linked to terrorism by western intelligence.

But Amjad Sarwar said his brother had no link to terrorism. "They've got it all wrong," he told Channel 4 News. "He is an innocent guy. He's been helping the youth out considerably in the area. He condemns terrorism." He said his brother had become more religious recently and dropped out of university, attending Tablighi Jamaat weekend study groups. "He was at Tablighi Jamaat, which is a sect in Islam that encourages the youth to grow beards and pray five times a day," Mr Sarwar said.

He also handed out leaflets outside his mosque, but they were only urging people to "propagate" Islam, according to Mr Sarwar, who said his brother wanted to "get married, and get himself a decent job".

A new suspect was arrested yesterday as part of the investigations. The suspect was detained after police obtained information from a series of raids in High Wycombe. The Buckinghamshire town remains the focus of the current inquiry. Anti-terrorist officers are continuing to search 22 homes and businesses in the area as well as woods nearby.

The significance of the latest arrest, which took place at just after 1pm in the Thames Valley area, is unclear, although anti-terrorist sources have said that the "main players" were among 19 suspects named last week after a series of arrests on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

A further five people, including two women, were arrested, although one has been released without charge. The raids took place in east London, Birmingham and Buckinghamshire.

Scotland Yard revealed further details yesterday of the scale of the hunt for evidence of the alleged bomb plot. As well as searching 46 homes and businesses, they have examined 20 vehicles.

The Charity Commission and police are looking into the possible misuse of funds from the Crescent Relief fund. The father of two of the terror suspects arrested has been registered as a charity director. Abdul Rauf, father of Rashid and Tayib, is a former director of Crescent Relief (London). No evidence has been found to suggest that Abdul Rauf or any of the charity's organisers are implicated in any alleged plot.