July 27, 2005

UK police arrest four in London bomb hunt

By Matthew Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Police arrested four men in central
England early on Wednesday in connection with last week's
failed bomb attacks on London, and media reports said one of
the suspected bombers was among those held.

London's Metropolitian police would not comment on whether
a bomber had been captured, but said one of the four men
arrested in the city of Birmingham was en route to the capital
for questioning at a high security detention center.

Police sources told Reuters that man -- detained in the Hay
Mills area of Britain's second-biggest city -- was the most
significant arrest. The BBC and Sky television said he was a
suspected bomber.

The botched bombings on July 21 occurred exactly two weeks
after four suicide bombers killed 52 people in a similar attack
on London's transport system. Police have linked the suicide
bombers to al Qaeda.

Police used a taser stun gun on the most significant
suspect and a suspect package was discovered at the address, a
police spokeswoman said.

"The man was tasered during the operation although no
firearms were discharged," she said.

A small area around the house was evacuated and a
controlled explosion on the suspect package was to be carried

The three other men were detained at another address and
taken to a West Midlands police station. All of the arrests
were made under anti-terrorism laws. Forensic investigations
were being carried out at both addresses.


Police also arrested two men at a train station in the
central town of Grantham as they traveled from the northern
city of Newcastle toward London's King's Cross.

The men were arrested late on Tuesday after a tip-off from
off-duty police officers.

London police declined to comment on whether the arrests
were connected with the arrests of four men in Birmingham.

Police have published photographs of the four main suspects
in the July 21 attempted attacks from images captured on
security cameras.

Police chief Ian Blair said on Tuesday the investigation
into the failed attempt to bomb London's transport network was
moving at an "astonishing" pace but warned that the fugitive
bombers could strike again.

"They are capable of killing again," Blair told Channel 4
News television on Tuesday. "We must find them. We are flat out
and we are getting a great deal of intelligence."

Newspapers reported on Wednesday that a prime suspect
wanted for last week's attempted London bombings had served a
jail sentence for knifepoint robberies and grew to hate the
British system after his conviction.

Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, wanted over an attempt to plant a
bomb on a bus in last week's failed attacks, was jailed for 5
years in 1996 for mugging people when he was part of a teenage
gang, the Daily Telegraph said.

The Sun tabloid said Ibrahim arrived in Britain from the
East African country of Eritrea in 1992.

Newspapers said Ibrahim and another of the four suspected
bombers came to Britain as child refugees from East Africa and
had received state welfare payments.

The Home Office (interior ministry) and police declined to
comment on the reports.

On Tuesday, police said they had found possible material
for making explosives at a flat in north London linked to one
of four suspects.

Police were checking comments by a neighbor that at least
one of the suspects may have returned to the flat in north
London the day after the attempted bombings.

"I spotted them on Friday afternoon," Tanya Wright told the
Sun. "When they spotted me, they turned pale as if they had
seen a ghost. I was with my Alsatian (dog). I guess they must
have thought I was a policewoman."

A police source, who declined to be identified, said the
information could be "extremely interesting" but that officers
had not yet confirmed the report.