UK at war with radical Islam: Two more suspected bombers arrested - police nab 2 women at subway station
July 29, 2005
Armed seige: suspects held
ARMED: At Nottinghill seige.ARMED police have arrested two suspected members of the the July 21 suicide bomb gang, according to reports.
Police sources confirmed that a number of arrests had been made during a huge operation in London.
But there was no official confirmation of a report on Sky News that detectives believe they have captured two more members of the bomb gang.
The arrests came after police laid siege to a flat on an estate near Wormwood Scrubs Prison in west London.
Officers could be heard ordering a man they called Mohammed to strip and come outside.
One eye-witness Philomena Daly, who lives on the estate in Dalgarno Gardens, said she saw two policemen dressed in blue overalls accompanying a man in white overalls out of the estate.
Earlier, she heard a controlled explosion and what she thought looked like a smoke bomb.
Scotland Yard said the operation was in connection with last week's failed nail bomb attacks on London's transport network.
Until today, police had arrested only one of the bomb suspects, who tried to set off devices on three Tube trains at the Oval, Warren Street and Shepherd's Bush and a bus in Hackney.
Yasin Hassan Omar was arrested during an operation in Birmingham on Wednesday morning.
Omar, a 24-year-old Somalian, is the prime suspect for the failed July 21 bomb attack on a Tube train near Warren Street in London.
According to reports, the Oval bomber, who was seen fleeing the station wearing a dark top with the words New York emblazoned on it, was held during today's operation.
He has yet to be named by police although detectives are believed to know his identity.
It was also reported that suspected bus bomber Muktar Said Ibrahim was detained today.
The Shepherd's Bush bomber was last seen running along nearby Wood Lane last Thursday after his device failed to explode.
On Saturday, a bomb was discovered in bushes at Little Wormwood Scrubs, a few hundred yards from today's siege.
Last Friday police raided an address in Harrow Road, also close to today's operation.
Today's siege took place at a block of flats owned by the Peabody Trust, in Dalgarno Gardens.
He said they were focusing on a top floor flat in one of the blocks on the estate and asking for a man called Mohammed to come out.
"He was being asked to come out with his hands up, naked or in underclothes," he said.
"They were giving directions for him to come out, telling him he would be safe if he puts his hands up."
Mr Holliman said he could tell there was more than one man in the flat by the way in which police were shouting at the property.
He said there were vocal protests coming from the flat.
Another witness said one of the suspects was heard shouting `I've got rights'.
After some time, Mr Holliman said heard several shots which he believed were gas being fired at the flat and then there was silence.
Outside the flat there were police officers and semi-plainclothed marksmen as well as a helicopter overhead.
Mr Holliman said the specialist firearms officer had a gas mask.
Another eye-witness Lisa Davis told Sky News two armed officers were standing outside her block, pointing their guns up at the suspect.
While Ms Davis was talking, male voices could be heard in the background shouting instructions to the man.
Ms Davis said: "We have got two men standing outside the flats right now.
"They have got their guns pointing upwards at the flat."
She said there had been a very loud explosion which sounded like a bomb followed by a series of smaller bangs that she thought were gunfire before the siege began.
She went on: "`Take your clothes off' is what they are telling him, `exit the building'.
"`Walk into the corridor and stop' is what they are telling him right now.
"They are asking him does he understand."
In the background a man, who Ms Davis said was an armed policeman, could be heard shouting at someone he was calling Mohammed: "You must do what we say."
Ms Davis said: "They keep asking him `Is there a reason that you shouldn't leave the flat?'.
"They have been saying this to him for about half an hour."
She said the officers had been trying to reassure the man that he would be safe.
Less than a mile away dozens of officers, some wearing gas masks, swooped on Notting Hill, clearing an wide area and cordoning off streets.
The level of precautions taken by police during today's raids, which included snipers stationed behind parked cars, suggested detectives feared there might have been a suicide bomber or explosives involved.
At least one property had been under surveillance overnight.
There were reports of blasts, but those could have been the result of police controlled explosions carried out during raids on properties.
Large numbers of armed police took to the streets and residents across a wide area were ordered to stay indoors.
Eye-witnesses described at least two properties being raided - the one Delgarno Gardens and one in the Tavistock Road area of Notting Hill, less than a mile away.
A woman living in Sutton Way, North Kensington, close to the 350-property Peabody Estate on Delgarno Gardens, said: "I understand a bomb went off in K block of the Peabody. They got everyone out first and no one was hurt."
Witnesses said police swooped on the Tavistock Road area of Notting Hill at around 11am.
Steve Ullathorne, 42, a photographer who lives in Tavistock Road, said: "There are two police men with machine guns and gas masks on Tavistock Road.
"Two of them are stationed outside my house and the roads are completely closed."
A number of ambulances were sent to the scene along with a bomb disposal truck.
Ladbroke Grove is an upmarket inner London district which is popular with celebrities.
A civil engineer working close to the operation in Notting Hill said police had mounted an armed raid on a flat in the Tavistock Crescent area.
Keeren Batten, 32, from Hitchin, Herts, said he and colleagues were working in a hole when they were told to leave the area by armed police.
He said: "We were literally digging a hole in the road when we saw armed police come running past and they said, 'Get out of the hole and get out of the area'.
"I carried on working really because somebody's house would have been flooded if we had stopped. We could see them running past and they stationed themselves around the park, close to a block of flats.
"They took positions and seemed to be targeting a particular flat just above a doorway. We could see a white curtain moving but we were too far away to make out who was in the building."
Scotland Yard said later police had carried out raids at two residential addresses in west London in connection with the July 21 attacks.
A spokesman said: "Police have arrested two men at one address and a third man has been arrested at the second address. They are being taken to a central London police station for further questioning."
While the raids in west London were continuing, armed police arrested two women at Liverpool Street station in the City of London and evacuated the area.
SCENE: The Notting Hill seige
Armed police arrest two women at station (29/07/2005)
-----------Friday, 29th July 2005
Armed police arrest two women at station
ARMED police arrested two women at Liverpool Street station and evacuated the area, officers said today.
The suspects were pinned to the ground in a dramatic swoop on the central London station, witnesses said.
One woman is thought to have been in a queue for the Stansted Express when she was pushed to the ground by police.
British Transport Police said the operation was carried out by Scotland Yard officers and confirmed that the site was being searched. Both the mainline station and the Underground station were evacuated.
A BTP spokesman said: "The two women were arrested at around 1.54pm and the station is now closed, the Tube is passing through on a non-stop basis.
"Police are now looking at a number of suspect packages and searching the station."
A witness told BBC News 24 that plainclothes police "suddenly burst into the main centre of the station and arrested two women.
"They pinned them down on the floor, put their hands behind their backs, put handcuffs on them and took them away," he said.
"All the station staff arrived and started evacuating the station.
"They've now evacuated the whole of Liverpool Street station and some of the streets nearby.
"There are now hundreds of people surrounding the station who were trying to catch a train and can't get in."
He said: "One witness said one of the women was queuing at the Stansted Express ticket office and another said they saw a rucksack nearby on the floor, but I didn't see that."
He said he saw plainclothes officers "wearing caps which indicated they were police".
"I was getting off one train, and probably about 20 yards away from one of the those women when she was arrested.
"Initially there was obviously a bit of chaos. They tried to push people away and tried to stop people taking pictures with their mobile telephones.
"They were gradually pushing people further and further back."