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UK police name two suspected bombers

July 25, 2005

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) – British police named two of four
suspects on Monday behind a failed bombing attack on London’s
transport network, appealing to the public to help speed an
investigation tainted by a mistaken shooting.

The head of Britain’s anti-terrorist branch, Peter Clarke,
said the two were Yasin Hassan Omar and Muktar Said-Ibrahim or
Muktar Mohammed-Said. He gave details of where the two others
fled after their bombs failed to explode last Thursday.

“I hope that by setting out some of what we have been able
to learn over the past few days, the public may be able to
contribute even more to the progress of the investigation,”
Clarke told a news conference.

Police said they had also arrested two people on Monday,
taking the total number of those in detention to five, and
armed officers raided an apartment in north London that had
been visited by one of the suspects. But they made no arrests.

The police said the arrests and the search was in
connection with the failed bombings of three underground trains
and a bus last Thursday, exactly two weeks after suicide
bombers killed 52 people in an attack officials linked to al
Qaeda.

But they were still hunting the four prime suspects.

“We are still looking for four men,” a spokesman said.

London police were keen to shift the focus back onto what
they called the biggest manhunt in their history after
mistakenly shooting dead a Brazilian electrician they believed
to be a suspected suicide bomber.

A police spokeswoman said the bombers “may strike again so
it is a race against time. It is still a very fluid situation.
The inquiry is moving at a rapid pace.”

“There is no reason to believe they have left the country.
They could be harbored in safe houses.”

GRAINY PICTURES

Weekend newspapers were full of the grainy closed-circuit
television pictures of the four suspects and police asked the
public for help in tracing the men.

But the investigation was dealt a blow and the reputation
of British police severely tarnished when the Brazilian was
shot dead by mistake on Friday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “We are all desperately
sorry for the death of an innocent person. I understand
entirely the feelings of the young man’s family.”

“If this had turned out to be a terrorist and they (the
police) had failed to take that action, they would have been
criticized the other way,” Blair told reporters.

Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot five times in the
head after being chased onto an underground train by undercover
police, witnesses said.

Police said Menezes had been followed from a block of
apartments in south London that had been under surveillance
since the July 21 attacks and was shot after running away from
armed police who had ordered him to stop.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, who will meet his
British counterpart Jack Straw later on Monday, said: “The
Brazilian government and the public are shocked and perplexed
that a peaceful and innocent person should have been killed.”

Despite the concerns of human rights activists, police say
they will not abandon what they called their “shoot-to-kill in
order to protect” policy with suicide bombers. They have warned
that more people could be killed during the investigation.

An opinion poll in the Daily Mirror suggested Britons
believe their country’s support for the Iraq war contributed to
the London bombings, something Prime Minister Tony Blair has
denied.

Nearly a quarter of those polled said Iraq was the main
cause for the bombings, with 62 percent saying it was a
contributory factor.

(Additional reporting by Paul Majendie)




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