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British police name two suspects in bombing probe

July 25, 2005

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) – British police on Monday named two
suspects wanted for trying to set off bombs across London’s
transport network last week as they scrambled to track down the
attackers and stop them striking again.

The botched attacks raised fears among Londoners that the
city could be a frequent target for Islamist militants, coming
just two weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 people on July
7.

Anxious to get public attention back on the search for the
attackers after killing a Brazilian electrician in error,
police named two of the four suspects they have been seeking
since releasing security camera images last week.

“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,”
London’s anti-terrorist police chief Peter Clarke said.

He named the two as Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, and Muktar
Said-Ibrahim or Muktar Mohammed-Said, aged 27. Police raided a
house in north London that Omar had recently visited.

Clarke did not say whether they were Britons or foreigners.
The four men who carried out the July 7 attacks — which
officials have linked to al Qaeda — were all British Muslims,
three of them of Pakistani origin.

Clarke also revealed a bomb abandoned in a park in west
London was similar to those from the failed attacks.

Police were trying to establish if the device belonged to a
fifth man or if one of the attackers had carried two bombs.

Two people were arrested on Monday as part of the
investigation, bringing the total held to five.

LOOKING FOR LINKS

Both waves of attacks targeted three underground trains and
a double-decker bus and police are trying to establish whether
the links go deeper — including a possibility some members of
both groups took part in a whitewater rafting trip to Wales.

Although the second group’s bombs failed to explode for
reasons that are unclear, the fact the attackers remain at
large has added to public anxiety.

“We can’t rule out another attack. We’re doing everything
we can to track these people down,” a police spokeswoman said.

Police said all five bombs from the latest attack were
concealed in plastic food containers manufactured in India and
hidden in rucksacks. Clarke showed the clear cylindrical
container at a news conference.

“My appeal is to any shopkeepers and shop workers who may
have sold five or more of these identical food containers in
recent months, perhaps to the same customer,” he said.

“Do you remember selling a number of these white topped
containers at the same time?”

He also released new security camera images of two of the
suspects.

The investigation was dealt a blow and the reputation of
British police severely tarnished when the Brazilian was shot
dead Friday, mistaken for a suicide bomber.

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 in the head after
being chased onto an underground train by undercover police.

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.

The BBC reported his visa had expired, offering a possible
explanation for fleeing from police. But his family has
insisted he was living and working legally in Britain.




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