Wednesday, July 04, 2007

8 suspects held in terror probe

Dr Kafeel Ahmed, Dr Bilal Abdullah, Dr Mohammed Asha, Marwa Daana,
Dr Sabeel Ahmed, Dr Mohammed Haneef and two un-named suspects are now in custody

After two attempted terror attacks and a car bomb attack in Scotland, the police investigation has moved swiftly with several arrests having been made. Information found on mobile telephones in the failed London car bombs led police to Scotland. One letting agency was contacted, through which one of the suspects had rented a property. But then came the attack on Glasgow airport and the arrested of the two suspected would-be suicide bombers. They have been named as Bilal Abdullah, a doctor of Iraqi descent, and Dr Kafeel Ahmed.
Within hours of the blast at Glasgow airport, police detained Dr Mohammed Asha on the M6 along with his wife, Marwa Daana a 27 year old laboratory technician. His father, Jamil Asha, has said he was a neurologist working in the UK and has said “this is so strange”. Pictures have been shown on some TV networks which depict Mohammed Asha meeting with Queen Noor of Jordan during a graduation ceremony. His father insisted his son was innocent. “Our son is not a fanatic,” he told reporters, “this is a mistake”.

A further arrest was made at a house in Liverpool, named as Dr Sabeel Ahmed, and two more were detained in Paisley near Glasgow a short time later.

COBRA, the government’s security panel, had met several times by early Monday morning and in the fast paced investigation police said they had made much progress. Then came news that another suspect had been detained half way round the globe. Dr Mohammed Haneef was arrested and subsequently questioned after attempting to take a flight to Pakistan from Brisbane, Australia, on a one-way ticket. He is described as an Indian doctor who had also worked in the UK. In addition the Prime Minister, John Howard, said another man was “helping police with their enquiries”. Dr Haneef is said to have moved to Australia in 2005 from Liverpool. He previously worked at Halton Hospital, Runcorn, Cheshire. The 26 year old Indian doctor arrested in Liverpool earlier is also said to have worked at the same hospital. Sky News reported that the men detained at an address in Paisley were trainee doctors. They are said to be 25 and 26 years old.

Several controlled explosions were carried out on Tuesday; one carried out on a suspicious car at a mosque in Glasgow and a further one at Alexandra Hospital, where at least one of the suspects remains in critical condition.

During the reporting of the story there has been confused and differing ways in which the details are reported. Whilst Sky News have used photographs and names of suspects, others, including CNN, have blurred out faces and refrained from reporting their names. Channel Four News on Tuesday showed only three of the eight suspects’ pictures, refraining from showing that of Dr Sabeel Ahmed beside many photographs having already been published of the hospitalized suspect.

Besides Sir Iain Blair saying the attacks could not have been prevented, it has now been reported in the media that MI5 already had some of the suspects in their sights. It may be coincidence, but it has been reported that one supposed al-Qaeda leader had given a coded warning to Canon Andrew White who visited Baghdad recently. He said that the man had threatened attacks in the UK and said, “those that cure you will kill you”.

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