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AL-QAIDA OPERATIVE FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER

A jury found an alleged al-Qaida operative guilty of murdering a policeman trying to arrest him for a plot to spread the deadly toxin ricin, officials said Wednesday. Eight other suspects were cleared.

Algerian militant Kamel Bourgass was sentenced to life in prison last June, but a judge only lifted reporting restrictions on Wednesday, after prosecutors dropped charges against four more suspects whose trial had been due to start soon. A jury last week acquitted four other men alleged to have been involved in the plot.

The charges stemmed from the discovery of traces of the poison ricin in a London apartment in January 2003, a find that sparked fears of an al-Qaida cell with designs to strike in Britain.