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One of al Qaeda's top agents in Britain is allegedly among 12 men arrested in anti-terror raids across England, reports say.

The unnamed man was arrested as a result of intelligence gathered after a recent raid in Pakistan.

The British agent is allegedly a senior al Qaeda figure, Pakistan intelligence officials were quoted by TV and press reports as saying.

The raid in Pakistan last month led to the discovery of computer files which suggested British and American targets had been identified for attacks - but gave no specific timescale.

Pakistani intelligence officials reportedly said 25-year-old computer expert Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested in the Pakistan raid, told them there was a terror network in Britain.

He is understood to have said he often relayed messages from Pakistan to the alleged leader of the British cell.

Scotland Yard earlier refused to say whether the 12 arrests were linked to the seizure of the computer files.

Police are continuing to question the 12, who are all thought to be of Asian origin, at Paddington Green Police Station in London.

A 13th man, arrested in the Willesden area of London, was later released.

The men, aged between 19 and 32, were seized in a series of raids in London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Lancashire on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.


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