Investigators: Bombers probably linked with Al Qaeda based cells
July 17, 2005
http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=de29efba-a594-40dc-8678-bdc61a90b4c4 Investigators: bombers possibly linked with Pakistan-based al-Qaida cells
July 15, 2005
LONDON (AP) - Investigators are looking into whether there's a link between the men who carried out the London bombings and Pakistan-based cells of the al-Qaida terror network, the city's police chief said Friday, as Egyptian authorities arrested a chemist in connection with the attacks.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said investigators were hunting the organizers of last week's four suicide attacks - carried out by what he called "foot soldiers" - and confirmed police were focusing on a Pakistan connection.
Blair told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that police believed they would discover an al-Qaida connection to the blasts that killed at least 54 people.
In Egypt, authorities arrested Magdi el-Nashar early Friday, an Egyptian official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement of the information had not yet been made. El-Nashar, who studied at North Carolina State University in the United States and the University of Leeds in northern England, was being interrogated by Egyptian authorities, the official said.
A statement from London's Metropolitan Police said, "We're aware of an arrest in Cairo, but we are not prepared to discuss who we may or may not wish to interview in connection with this investigation (into the London bombings)."
"This remains a fast-moving investigation with a number of lines of inquiry, some of which may have an international dimension," London's police said.
Three of the bombers who carried out last week's terror strikes were Britons of Pakistani origin. Pakistani intelligence officials said Friday that local authorities were looking into a connection between one of the three Britons and two al-Qaida-linked militant groups in that country.
"What we expect to find at some stage is that there is a clear al-Qaida link, a clear al-Qaida approach, because the four men who are dead, who we believe are the bombers, are in the category of foot soldiers," Commissioner Blair told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
Authorities in Pakistan were looking into a connection between one of the London suicide bombers and two al-Qaida-linked militant groups in Pakistan, including a man arrested for a 2002 attack on a church near the U.S. Embassy, two senior intelligence officials said.
The investigation is focusing on at least one trip that 22-year-old Shahzad Tanweer made to Pakistan in the past year, said the officials, who work at two separate intelligence agencies and are involved in the investigation. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the secretive nature of their jobs.
One of the officials said that while in Pakistan, Tanweer is believed to have visited a radical religious school run by the banned Sunni Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
The sprawling school in Muridke, 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of the eastern city of Lahore, has a reputation for hostility. Journalists who have traveled to the school in the past have been threatened and prevented from entering. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba was banned by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for alleged links to a 2001 attack on India's Parliament.
British and FBI officials investigating the possible al-Qaida connection in the London attacks were also looking into the Egyptian-born el-Nashar, who studied in the United States.
ABC News, citing unidentified officials, reported that the attacks were connected to an al-Qaida plot made two years ago in Lahore, Pakistan. Names on a computer that authorities seized last year from Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, an alleged Pakistani computer expert for al-Qaida, matched a suspected cell of young Britons of Pakistani origin, most of whom lived near Luton, where the alleged suicide bombers met up on their way to London shortly before last week's blasts, according to the report.
Authorities have now discovered ties between Mohammed Sidique Khan - one of the July 7 bombers - and members of that cell who were arrested last year, ABC said.
FBI agents in Raleigh, North Carolina, had been involved in the search for el-Nashar, a 33-year-old former North Carolina State University graduate student. The doors were locked Thursday at the building at Leeds University where he recently taught chemistry.
And in a further international development in the inquiry, Jamaica's government said it was investigating a Jamaican-born Briton as one of the bombers.
Britain paid tribute Thursday to those killed in the attacks with two minutes of silence.
One of the bombers identified by police as Hasib Hussain, 18, allegedly set off the bomb that killed 14 people aboard the bus. That blast occurred nearly an hour after three London Underground trains blew up, and investigators don't yet know what Hussain did during that hour or when he boarded the bus.
Trying to map out Hussain's movements, police appealed for information from anyone who may have seen him in or around King's Cross station, where the four suspects parted ways. They released a closed-circuit television image showing him wearing a large camping-style backpack as he strode through a train station in Luton, outside London, about 2 1/2 hours before he allegedly blew up the No. 30 bus. He had a mustache and wore jeans, a white shirt, and a dark zip-up top or jacket.
A separate photo of his face showed him with a beard, looking straight ahead.
"Did you see this man at King's Cross?" Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch, asked in a televised appeal. "Was he alone or with others? Do you know the route he took from (King's Cross) station? Did you see him get on to a No. 30 bus?
The young men traveled together from Luton to King's Cross just before the blasts, police said.
Police officially identified two of the suicide bombers Thursday - Hussain and Tanweer, whom they say attacked a subway train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations.
Both were Britons of Pakistani ancestry, as was 30-year-old Mohammed Sidique Khan. Reports say the fourth attacker was Jamaican-born Briton Lindsey Germaine.
Jamaican Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Wilton Dyer said officials were waiting for Britain to confirm the identity of the suspect before they could help in identifying his possible origins in Jamaica.
Bin says Bomb Britain.
Bin Laden calls for attacks on Britain
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden has called for attacks on targets in the United States and Britain, Pakistani intelligence sources have said, but it is not clear if his appeal was accompanied by more detailed orders.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, played down a report on Wednesday in the Washington Times that a tape from bin Laden may surface soon that would act as a signal for planned attacks to be launched.
The newspaper, citing U.S. intelligence officials, said al Qaeda would target an American or foreign leader either within the United States or abroad.
Pakistani intelligence agencies have been questioning key al Qaeda figures captured in the last month in a crackdown that has yielded a wealth of information about the network's personnel and plots to strike targets inside the country and abroad.
They include Tanzanian Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, wanted for the attacks on U.S. embassies in east Africa in 1998, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a key al Qaeda operational chief in Pakistan, and computer engineer Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan.
"Osama has given the go ahead to target important places and personalities in the U.S., U.K. and Pakistan," one Pakistani intelligence source said.
Khan's laptop computer has proved a treasure trove of information on al Qaeda's plans to launch attacks, including in the United States and on Heathrow airport.
He was believed to have acted as a communications middleman between operatives in remote areas of Pakistan and those in Europe and the United States.
Despite claiming a major breakthrough in its war on al Qaeda and allied local militant groups, Pakistan is concerned that the crackdown resulting in the arrests of around 20 of the network's operatives will trigger a violent backlash.
Extra checkpoints have been set up in the capital Islamabad and several cabinet ministers have been told to restrict their movements. Pakistan celebrates independence day on Saturday.
Further details emerged on alleged contacts between Ghailani and bin Laden, believed by U.S. officials to be hiding somewhere along the rugged and porous Afghan-Pakistan frontier.
Some experts question how able bin Laden is to coordinate live operations, since he is unlikely to be using satellite communications and is on the run from tens of thousands of U.S. and Pakistan troops in the region.
Pakistani intelligence officials say Ghailani admits he saw bin Laden in 2002 and last had contact with him in June, 2003.
Ghailani was in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area in June, when Pakistani forces launched a major offensive on foreign militants and local tribal allies and he was forced to flee.
He went to Gujarat, a city 175 km (110 miles) southeast of Islamabad, where he was captured by authorities last month after a fierce gunbattle.
The officials said Pakistan has learned Ghailani had been training suicide bombers in Gujarat for several weeks with a view to attacking the military airbase at Chaklala, near the capital, and Islamabad airport.
Khan has revealed that Abu Musa al-Hindi, known as Abu Eisa al-Hindi, an al Qaeda suspect seized by police in Britain earlier this month, was in charge of carrying out attacks on the United States and Britain.
"They selected many targets in these countries," said an intelligence official.
"They wanted to create chaotic conditions in the U.S. during the elections. They had planned a series of terrorist activities in the United States."
Acting on information gleaned from Khan and his computer, the United States issued a security warning of an al Qaeda attack on financial institutions.