Cyprus Arrests 10 Pakistani Students

Police have arrested 10 Pakistani students suspected of belonging to an Al Qaeda (search) network on this Mediterranean island, police and media said Friday.

Cypriot Interior Minister Andreas Christou said on state-run radio that the students were awaiting deportation. He refused to comment on the Al Qaeda suspicions, saying only "their arrests are connected to security considerations."

The arrests followed reports from foreign security organizations that the students were linked to Usama bin Laden's (search) Al Qaeda network, police officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The newspaper Politis reported the students had been arrested earlier this week on suspicion of belonging to an Al Qaeda network.

No information was released on their identities, their length of stay in Cyprus or their alleged activities.

Sotiris Drakos, a lawyer for some of the students, told state-run radio that his clients "are innocent and have no links with terrorism."

Radio reports said one of the men already has been deported to Pakistan, while the others were being held pending deportation.

Cyprus, closely allied with the United States and Britain, has several thousand students from Asia and the Arab world.