July 29, 2005

Armed UK police corner suspect in raid: witnesses

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Armed police raided a West London
apartment on Friday in their hunt for would-be suicide bombers
and cornered a suspect who refused to come out.

"Take your clothes off. Exit the building," police were
heard shouting.

A witness, identified as Lisa Davis, told Sky News
television by phone: "Five armed police with guns and shields
are moving in. They are telling everyone to get inside now.

"They are asking him, 'What is the problem? Why can't he
come down?"

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 four suspected Islamist militant bombers killed
themselves and 52 other people in London.

On Davis's phone, viewers could hear police shouting for
the suspect to leave. 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.


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 and gas masks were
seen preparing to enter a housing estate in the Ladbroke Grove

Two days after the four failed bomb attacks, police said
they had found in what appeared to be a fifth device abandoned
in bushes in the Wormwood Scrubs area of west London.

Wormwood Scrubs is only a few hundred yards from the scene
of Friday's raid.

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.

In the biggest manhunt ever undertaken by British police,
London police chief Ian 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 on Thursday evening.

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.