Fears of Further London Attacks Rise | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 31.07.2005
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Fears of Further London Attacks Rise

Fears mounted Sunday that another wave of attacks was heading London's way as British police tried to pin down the network behind the previous bombers and the suspects already in custody began to talk.


London remains on the alert

A British newspaper said another cell was planning follow-up attacks to the July 7 suicide blasts that killed 56 people and the botched July 21 bombings. A member of the alleged July 21 cell, fighting extradition from Rome, denied he had links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror group and said the attacks were "just a gesture."

At least three men wanted over the attacks were being interrogated by police in London. Britain was also seeking access to the reported ringleader of the July 7 blasts, British national Haroon Aswat, who was arrested in Zambia on July 20.

The Sunday Times said a third terror cell was planning multiple suicide bomb attacks on London. The weekly said they were on the loose and planning further blasts on "soft" targets like the Underground subway network. The newspaper said intelligence of a third cell with access to explosives and plans to hit London was known to British police, who have not retracted from Friday's statement, "the threat remains and is very real."

The group was said to be independent of the previous bombers but members were associated with some of the suspects nabbed over the July 21 attacks.

A Metropolitan Police firearms officer told the newspaper arrests so far were "just the tip of the iceberg. "There is some big stuff coming in the next few months. There's a big network that's got to be cracked."

Verdächtiger in Italien Verhaftet

In Italian custody: Osman Hussain

Suspect bomber Osman Hussain (photo) has begun making revelations about the July 21 incidents. The alleged attempted bomber of an Underground train at Shepherd's Bush station, in custody in Rome, denied links with al Qaeda, the Italian news agency ANSA reported, quoting records of the interrogation.

"Just a gesture"

"I have no connection with al Qaeda," Hussain -- also known as Issac Hamdi -- told Italian magistrates after his arrest. "I joined a muscle-building class in Notting Hill (west London) and I was told we had to act to avenge our people who had been arrested, thrown into prison after the July 7 bombings," the Ethiopian-born naturalized Briton said. "A signal had to be given and we did it, but we did not intend to kill anybody. It was just a gesture," he declared, adding that he had no links with the four July 7 suicide bombers.

Italian justice ministry sources said supporting documentation required for extradition in the case of suspects held under the new European arrest warrant is expected from British police Monday. The new arrest warrant, ratified by the Italian parliament in April, has streamlined extradition procedures between European Union states and could mean the Hussain could be handed over within days. If the subject of the warrant refuses extradition the country where he or she is held has 60 days, extendable by a further 30, to make a decision.

"Terrorist goldmine"

A British Sunday newspaper revealed a bag feared to have been meant to aid further bombers enter and exit Britain was found abandoned by London's main Heathrow Airport, stuffed with fake passports, documents and bank cards.

The News of the World called the find a "potential terrorist goldmine." The 19 passports inside were for Pakistani, British, Indian, Nepalese and South African nationals. The bag also contained a letter written to a Muslim in Dewsbury, northern England -- home to July 7 suicide bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan.

Mastermind arrested in Zambia?

Zambian police confirmed Saturday that Aswat was arrested on July 20 in Lusaka. The British Foreign Office has said it is seeking access to a man being held by the Zambian authorities.

"His arrest follows ongoing security investigations on the threat of terrorism to which Mr Aswat is alleged to be connected," Zambian police inspector general Ephraim Maateyo said in a statement. "He entered the country on July 6. He is a British national and is currently in custody of Zambian security authorities."

Zwei weitere Rucksackbomber von London gefasst

British police officers cordon off the scene of a police raid in an apartment block in west London, Friday

A total of 11 suspects were still in British custody over the two waves of London bomb attacks. Twenty-eight people had been arrested altogether by British police in the terror investigations, the Metropolitan Police revealed Saturday.

Reports said the girlfriends of July 21 bombing suspects Ibrahim and Mohammed were the two women arrested Friday fleeing a bag check at London's Liverpool Street railway terminus. British newspapers said the pair were heading for London Stanstead Airport. The Sunday Mirror quoted a security source as saying the two, released without charge Friday, were now being treated as witnesses rather than suspects.

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