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Italian, UK police quiz suspects in bomb probe

July 31, 2005

By Phil Stewart and Michael Holden

ROME/LONDON (Reuters) – A prime suspect in the second wave
of London bombings has told Italian detectives he took part in
the attacks on the city’s transport system as British police
quizzed three other suspected bombers on Sunday.

A judicial source with direct contact to the man confirmed
Italian media reports that Osman Hussain, arrested in Rome on
Friday, has said that he participated in the July 21 failed
attacks.

“Yes, yes. I can confirm that,” the source told Reuters. He
gave no further details.

Police arrested five further men and one women on Sunday in
southern England under anti-terrorism laws in connection with
the July 21 attempted bombings but a police source said the
arrests were not a significant development in the inquiry.

That brings the total number of people being questioned by
British investigators in relation to the probe, the biggest
operation for London’s police since World War II, to 17.

Hussain’s court-appointed lawyer has suggested that the
suspect, an Ethiopian-born British citizen, may try to resist
extradition requested by British authorities.

British police believe they have captured all four men they
were seeking over the July 21 botched bombings on three
underground trains and a bus, which came exactly two weeks
after four bombers killed themselves and 52 people in similar
attacks.

After an international manhunt for suspected Islamist
militants which culminated in a swoop on a housing estate in
west London on Friday, three of the men are in custody in
London and the fourth in Rome.

FRESH ATTACKS

Officers are still looking for anyone who may have helped
the bombers and warn of new strikes.

“We are still searching for the people who put the jobs
together,” said a police spokeswoman.

“Friday was a great success but the threat remains real –
people still need to be vigilant,” she added.

As Britons worry about a fresh attack on London, domestic
media said the police and security forces were trying to track
down any further cells and a possible command structure behind
the bombers.

Security experts described al Qaeda’s pyramid structure.

“If you see the two groups of bombers as two separate teams
of foot soldiers on the very bottom, then there is a
possibility they are linked by the command structure in the
level above,” a security source told The Observer.

“This is the level we are trying to identify and track
down,” the source was quoted as saying.

A Zambian intelligence source said in Lusaka on Saturday
the authorities had signed a deportation order for suspected
British militant Haroon Rashid Aswad, who would be handed over
to Britain once formalities were completed.

British police say they would like to question him but say
he is not a priority in the London bombings investigation.

In Italy, the latest high-profile arrest stemming from at
least 15 raids linked to Hussain’s contacts was a man named as
Fati Issac who police said was the brother of Hussain, also
known as Hamdi Adus Issac.

A police source told Reuters the brother is accused of
“hiding or destroying” documents. Another brother was arrested
in Rome on Friday for possession of false documents.




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