A man suspected of assisting four would-be suicide bombers to mount the failed July 21 attacks on London was arrested today as he arrived in Britain on an overnight flight from Ethiopia.
The 23-year-old British citizen was held by armed officers at Gatwick in a low-key operation inside the terminal, minutes after the plane from Addis Ababa touched down at 5.20am.
He is believed to have been returning to his home in Tottenham, north London, for the first time since the copycat attacks on the capital's transport network, a fortnight after the July 7 bombers claimed 52 lives.
Scotland Yard has not given any details of the man beyond saying that he was suspected of providing logistical support, and not of helping in the construction of the bombs. The suspect was arrested in a pre-planned operation involving the Anti-Terrorist Branch supported by Sussex Police
He was held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000 and transferred to the high-security police station at Paddington Green.
In the July 21 attempted attack, four - possibly five - would-be suicide bombers attempted to detonate backpack bombs at three Underground stations and on a double-decker bus. The devices failed to explode.
So far, 43 people have been arrested and 15 people have been charged in connection with the incidents. Of those, five - Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, Ramzi Mohammed, 23, Yassin Omar, 24, Manfo Asiedu, 32 and Hussein Osman, 27 - face charges of conspiracy to murder, and their trial will provisionally take place in September next year. The remainder have been accused of less serious offences including obstructing the inquiry and helping suspects to evade arrest.
The July 21 failed attacks came a fortnight after four suicide bombers succeeded in detonating their explosives on London transport. Police have yet to establish any forensic connection between the July 7 blasts and the attempted attack two weeks later but have publicly stated that they believe they will uncover a common link.