US police raid homes over bomb plot

Federal agents carried out raids in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Maine yesterday in connection with the failed Times Square car bomb and arrested three men thought to have provided money to suspect Faisal Shahzad.

The searches were as a result of evidence gathered in the investigation into the bomb attempt two weeks ago, but there was "no known immediate threat to the public or any active plot against the United States", an FBI spokeswoman said.

All the men were arrested for suspected immigration violations. Two of those arrested were in the Boston area and had a "direct connection" to Pakistani-American suspect Faisal Shahzad, said a Massachusetts law enforcement official. They are believed to have provided money to him. "These people might be innocent and not know what they were providing money for, but it's clear there's a connection," the official said.

At least two of the men are from Pakistan, said another official. One had overstayed his visa, and the government had already begun proceedings to remove one of the men from the US. Police cordoned off a house in Watertown, a suburb near Boston, and a neighbour reported seeing an FBI raid there. A Mobil petrol station in Brookline, another Boston suburb, also was raided. Homes were searched in Long Island, New York, and Maine. Mr Shahzad, a US citizen born in Pakistan, has not yet appeared in court.