London in Grip of Tense Manhunt for Bombers | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 23.07.2005
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London in Grip of Tense Manhunt for Bombers

British police have arrested a second man as a massive manhunt for four would-be suicide bombers gained pace Saturday and new security scares kept Londoners on nervous alert.


Londoners are on edge following the bombings and arrests

"I can confirm a second man has been arrested, it was yesterday (Friday) night," a spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police told AFP.

Polizei schießt auf Selbstmordattentäter Stockwell

Police stand outside Stockwell station, in London

The arrest took place in the same area of south London, Stockwell, as a first suspect was apprehended earlier Friday and a third man was shot dead by police in front of terrified onlookers.

British newspapers Saturday published grainy security camera stills showing four wanted men at or near the sites of Thursday's seemingly botched suicide attacks, as police urged the public to come forward with information.

"Find Them"

"Find them," screamed the huge-type headline in the tabloid Daily Mirror Saturday. "The four most wanted," said The Independent, like every newspaper carrying pictures of the casually-dressed men in subway station tunnels or on a bus, one with a rucksack believed to have held his bomb.

Die vier mutmaßlichen Attentäter von London

The four suspected suicide bomber seen in this CCTV image made available in London by the Metropolitan Police.

Police, who were already gathering forensic evidence from the rucksacks and bombs that failed to explode, said they had received more than 400 calls following their appeal for help from the public.

Nerves were on edge in the British capital Saturday. Mile End Underground station in east London was briefly evacuated and closed after an unspecified alert, police said after they received information.

On Thursday, exactly a fortnight after four British Muslim men killed themselves and 52 others in a co-ordinated series of blasts on three London subway trains and a bus, the new attackers attempted a repeat attack. Their detonators appeared to work but the explosive mix in their rucksacks failed to go off. No-one was injured and the bombers fled the scenes.

On Friday morning, police cornered a man of ethnic Asian origin inside a subway train at Stockwell after a frantic chase. Screaming at onlookers to get out of the way, they pinned him down in a carriage and shot him at point-blank range. Police refused to say whether the dead man had been carrying any explosives at the time.

Polizei schießt auf Selbstmordattentäter Stockwell

Police shot and killed a man at a Stockwell station on Friday,

Soon after the Stockwell shooting, police arrested a man under anti-terrorism laws after an armed raid on a nearby apartment block, and another was arrested around midnight. Both men were being held in a high security police station in central London in connection with the investigation into the attempted attacks on London's transport network, police said.

The first man was being held under a section of Britain's 2001 anti-terrorism law relating to the "commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism", a police spokeswoman told AFP.

British police in dilemma

According to Saturday's edition of The Sun newspaper, one of the detained men is one of the suspected bombers, whose device partially exploded Thursday lunchtime on a Number 26 bus in east London. "One down... three to go," was the headline on the tabloid's front page, above a picture of the arrested man being driven away wearing a paper suit to protect potential evidence on his clothes.

Nach zweiten Bombenanschlag in London Zeitungsleser

Commuters read the morning headlines onboard the underground after Thursday's bomb attacks plunged the tube networks into chaos in London.

Saturday's newspapers noted the "deadly dilemma" now faced by British police in tackling suspects who might be carrying a suicide bomb.

Britons, who have only become accustomed to seeing their police armed in recent years, appeared to be torn between a sense of necessity and disquiet about the shooting by police.

Some papers likened the police tactics to those used by Israeli security forces in dealing with suicide bombers.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said a "shoot-to-kill policy" was necessary for those suspected of carrying a bomb, and he had strong support from some quarters. The Daily Express newspaper headlined: "Shoot all bombers".

But the Muslim Council of Britain demanded police explain their actions and said Muslims feared reprisal attacks. Friday's shooting at Stockwell will be automatically investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The four men named by police as the July 7 suicide bombers were all Muslim Britons, three of Pakistani origin. The fourth was a Muslim convert born in Jamaica.

A survey of British Muslims in Saturday's Daily Telegraph newspaper found that only six percent thought the July 7 attacks were justified.

However, when asked whether they had sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the bombers, 13 percent said they had a lot of sympathy and a further 11 percent had a little.

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