|Forensic officers at the scene of the attack on the terminal building at Glasgow Airport, 01 Jul 2007|
British Police Arrest More Suspects in Search for Terror Cell
By Sonja Pace - London - 02 July 2007
A reproduction shows a portrait of Mohammed Asha at his family home in Amman, Jordan, 02 Jul 2007
British police have arrested two more men in connection with attempted car bombings in central London and Glasgow Scotland, bringing the total number of suspects in custody to seven. The manhunt continues for additional suspects. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from the British capital.
Police arrested the two men, said to be in their 20s, near Glasgow. Four others are already in custody and one suspect remains in a local hospital near Glasgow with severe burns on his body. The search continues for additional suspects.
Early Friday police found two abandoned cars in London, filled with gas canisters, gasoline and nails. They say had the explosives been detonated, hundreds of people might have been killed.
A day later, two men tried to ram their burning sport utility vehicle into the entrance of the Glasgow airport terminal. The two men were subdued and taken away - one to jail and one to a local hospital.
British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told members of the
House of Commons Monday about additional security measures being taken.
"The police have substantially stepped up protective security measures, including high visibility patrols, including armed response vehicles, the increased use of stop and search powers for vehicles and pedestrians, an increased physical protection around airport terminal buildings, including tighter control on access roads and installation of new barriers," said Smith.
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The terrorism alert level remains at its highest stage of critical.
British media reports quote police sources as saying one of the men apprehended at Glasgow airport is Bilal Abdullah, an Iraqi-trained medical doctor. Another man, detained with his wife on a motorway near the city of Liverpool, is being named as Mohammed Asha and described as a physician, trained in Jordan. Both are said to be registered as medical practitioners in Britain.
Police believe they are dealing with a terrorist cell either linked to or inspired by al Qaida.
"Let us be clear, terrorists are criminals whose victims come from all walks of life, communities and religious backgrounds," said Home Secretary Smith. "Terrorists attack the values shared by all law-abiding citizens. As a government, as communities as individuals we need to ensure that the message of the terrorists is rejected."
This coming Saturday, Britain marks the second anniversary
of the July 7 bombings, in which four Muslim suicide bombers set off explosions on London's transport system that killed 52 bus and subway passengers.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK Terror suspects all linked to NHS
Police made two arrests at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. Eight people arrested in connection with failed car bombings in Glasgow and London all have links with the National Health Service, the BBC has learned. Seven are believed to be doctors or medical students, while one formerly worked as a laboratory technician.
A suspect in hospital after the Glasgow attack has been named as Khalid Ahmed, who is believed to be a
doctor. A man arrested in Liverpool on Sunday has been named as Sabeel Ahmed, 26, who trained as a doctor.
The Times report comes after three attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow on Friday and Saturday, in
which police have apprehended eight suspects, all of whom appear to be doctors or have medical links.
Canon Andrew White told the newspaper that he met the unnamed Al-Qaeda leader, who had traveled from Syria, on the sidelines of a religious reconciliation meeting in Amman, Jordan. Mr White said that he had passed the warning along to a senior official at the British foreign ministry, but not the specific words.
When contacted by AFP, a foreign ministry spokeswoman would only say: "The official in question doesn't recall the conversation that is supposed to have taken place.'' According to White, the Al-Qaeda leader "talked to me about how they were going to destroy British and Americans. He told me that the plans were already made and they would soon be destroying the British.'' "He said the people who cure you would kill you.''
Mr White said that the man who delivered the warning, who was in his 40s, said at the time that the plans would be carried out in the coming weeks, and would target the British first. He did not learn the man's identity until after the meeting, and did not disclose it.
|British Cleric Recalls Cryptic Terror Warning|
Updated Wed. Jul. 4 2007 9:53 PM ET - CTV.ca News Staff
Canon Andrew White speaks with the Associated Press in the heavily fortified green zone in this Sunday, April 16, 2006 file photo in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP / Samir Mizban)
A British Anglican priest working in Baghdad says he received a mysterious warning from an alleged al Qaeda member, months before last week's failed bomb plots in London and Glasgow.
Canon Andrew White, who regularly speaks with extremists in an effort to lower sectarian violence, said he met with an educated Iraqi man-- along with Sunni Muslim tribal and religious leaders -- in Amman, Jordan on April 18.
The other leaders said the unnamed man was with al Qaeda. The man, who had travelled from Syria, warned of attacks in the West.
"It was like meeting the devil," White told The Associated Press by phone on Wednesday. "He talked of destroying Britain and the United States."
And then, White recalled, the man gave him a cryptic message: "Those who cure you are going to kill you."
While White passed on the general threat to the British Foreign Office, he didn't tell them about the medical angle, he said.
A family photo made by a cellphone of Mohammed Jamil Asha holding his baby boy Anas, left, with his mother in law Eslah, centre, and his wife
Marwa Da'na, right, made available in Amman, Jordan.
Abdulla was in the flaming SUV. Relatives of Abdulla told the Guardian newspaper in Britain that they think he may have fallen under the spell of Sheikh Ahmad al-Qubeisi, a Sunni cleric in Iraq who has glorified martyrdom.