LONDON -- Authorities in Pakistan interrogated a key British suspect yesterday in the alleged plot to blow up US-bound passenger jetliners. Britain's top security official said police have gathered ``substantial material" and indicated they were close to charging some of the suspects.
Rashid Rauf, a Briton of Pakistani descent, was arrested in Pakistan days before British authorities said on Aug. 10 they had uncovered the plot to bomb 10 trans-Atlantic jetliners with liquid explosives. Britain has arrested 23 people, including a brother of Rauf.
Rauf has been described by Islamabad as a key person in the alleged conspiracy.
Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao of Pakistan would not provide any details of Rauf's interrogation.
He said a British team had arrived in Pakistan but was not involved in the investigation.
Britain's home secretary, John Reid, indicated yesterday that criminal charges could be filed in the next few days but did not disclose details.
``Police and the security authorities are content that their investigation is rewarding substantial material which would allow them to take forward the judicial process," Reid said in an interview with ABC-TV's ``This Week."
``The police and the authorities are convinced that there was an alleged plot here," he said. ``They have intervened. And in the course of the next few days, we'll wait and see what happens in terms of charges."
New security measures threw Britain's airports into chaos in the days after arrests were made on Aug. 10, but officials at London's Heathrow Airport -- Europe's busiest and most-affected hub -- said yesterday that most flights now are operating normally.