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Cartoonist 'death plot' suspects released

Gardai continued to build a case today against the prime suspect in an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist.

A 49-year-old Algerian man has remained the main focus in the investigation which led to the arrest of seven people in Waterford, Tramore and Ballincollig.

Three of the seven were released without charge last night and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecution.

Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks caused uproar in the Muslim world when he depicted the head of Muhammad on the body of a dog. A series of death threats were made against him from different groups around the world.

A married couple, both Algerians, who had been arrested at their Ballincollig home in Cork last Tuesday, were freed from Dungarvan Garda Station, along with another woman who was being detained at Tramore.

The other four, three men and a woman, were still being questioned by officers late last night. Three of the seven arrested were from Algeria and the others were from the US, Libya, Croatia and Palestine.

A forensic examination of computers seized during garda raids on seven houses, an office and a bakery, has confirmed an online link between the Algerian and the self-styled 'Jihad Jane', American Coleen Rose, who is alleged in a criminal indictment before a court in Philadelphia to be the organiser of the murder plot.

But a garda operation confirmed intelligence supplied by the FBI and CIA that LaRose and the Algerian had been in contact with each other on the internet.