July 29, 2005

Armed police launch raid in west London

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Armed police carried out a raid in west
London on Friday in their hunt for the bombers behind failed
July 21 attacks on city trains and a bus, police said.

A witness told Sky Television that police -- hunting three
would-be suicide bombers -- had their guns trained on a man and
were ordering him to remove his clothes and leave the building.

"They've got guns pointed up and they're telling him to get
his clothes off and come down," she said by telephone.

On her phone, viewers could hear police shouting for the
suspect to leave the apartment. Calling the man Mohammed, they
told him if he did so, he would be safe.

Sky TV, citing police sources, said the operation targeted
at least one of three suspected bombers still at large. The
fourth was arrested on Wednesday.

A Sky reporter said he understood one person had been
arrested in Friday's operation.

A spokesman at Scotland Yard police headquarters said: "We
are in the early stages of an armed operation."

"It's in connection with the attempted bombings on July 21
and cordons are in place as a precaution," he added.

Police are still chasing three of four men who tried to
detonate bombs in failed attacks on July 21, exactly two weeks
after a team of suspected Islamist militant bombers killed
themselves and 52 other people in London.

Local resident Martin Pendergast told Reuters by telephone:
"Police have sectioned off my estate and the (nearby) Sutton

He said he had heard some sort of blast. "It sounded like a
kind of version of a firework mixed with a shotgun," he added.

Another witness reported up to six explosions and said he
had been told by police they were caused by stun grenades.

Police specialists in forensic suits were seen preparing to
enter a housing estate in the Ladbroke Grove area.


Police have been under pressure to exercise caution after
they shot dead Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in London last
Friday because they mistook him for a suicide bomber.

London's police chief Ian Blair said he was devastated for
the man's family but defended the "shoot-to-kill" policy with
suicide bombers.

In the biggest manhunt ever undertaken by British police,
Blair said he was confident the three would-be bombers on the
run would be caught.

"How soon it will be, I don't know. But I am quite sure the
net is closing," he said.

Police are reviewing 15,000 closed circuit television
tapes, have taken 1,800 witness statements and received 5,000
calls on their anti-terrorism hotline.

One of the underground railway stations targeted by the
July 7 suicide bombers was reopened on Friday.

Seven people were killed when a bomb ripped through a train
passing through the Edgware Road station.