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PROBE PURPORTEDLY LINKS SUSPECTS TO BIN LADEN

Investigators say they believe they have found links between Osama bin Laden, who is accused of promoting terrorism, and Algerians charged with plotting an attack in the United States, the New York Times said today.

Mohambedou Ould Slahi, who was arrested in Senegal and is a brother-in-law of one of bin Laden's key aides, is believed to have directed the Algerians' effort to carry out a bomb plot from Canada last month, the Times reported.

Slahi, a citizen of Mauritania who the Times said was in constant contact with a construction company in Sudan that was owned by bin Laden, has not been charged with any crime. But the United States requested his arrest, and federal prosecutors in New York are preparing formal charges that could be used as the basis for his extradition.

The plot was foiled Dec. 14 when U.S. authorities arrested an Algerian, Ahmed Ressam, at Port Angeles, Wash., as he entered the country from Canada in a vehicle that purportedly contained bomb-making materials.

At least three other Algerian nationals and a woman married to an Algerian face charges in connection with the plot.

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