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NHS as Al Qaeda's jihad conduit to the West: "Health service has been used to get terrorists into Britain to launch attacks against us"

July 3, 2007


By Jon Clements And Jeff Edwards 03/07/2007

ANOTHER doctor was arrested in Australia today, adding to the brain surgeon, three more doctors, two medical students and a former laboratory technician being quizzed over the London and Glasgow car bomb plots.

This afternoon two men were also arrested in Blackburn under terror laws - but police could not confirm if they were linked to the car bomb investigation. Police swooped following two deliveries of gas cannisters to a unit on an industrial estate.

Earlier, Dr Mohammed Haneef, 27, was held at Brisbane Airport, where he had been due to catch a flight believed to be to Pakistan.

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He is one of two doctors linked to the Halton Hospital in Runcorn, Cheshire, now under arrest as part of the terror probe.

The disclosure sparked security fears that al-Qaeda sleeper cells have used the NHS to enter and work in Britain, using their jobs as medics for cover.

Neurologist Mohammed Asha, 26, is accused of masterminding two gas and petrol car bombs in London's Haymarket on Friday.

He is being quizzed at Paddington Green police station in London. His wife is also under arrest.

Iraqi doctor Bilal Abdullah, 27, is held in Scotland accused of being the passenger in the Jeep Cherokee which crashed in flames into Glasgow Airport on Saturday.

The Jeep driver - who is critically ill with 90 per cent burns - is also reportedly a doctor.

He is said to be a locum working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, where he is now being treated.

The fourth doctor is an Indian of 26 arrested near Lime Street railway station in Liverpool on Saturday. He is from Bangalore.

Two men aged 28 and 25 arrested by police in Paisley, near Glasgow, on Sunday are Saudi Arabian medical students. Another man was arrested in Belgium last night.

A senior police source said: "We're concentrating on people who have close and recent links to evidence found in the two cars which failed to explode.

"Most of the people under arrest either work or are being trained to work in the NHS. That's unlikely to be a coincidence.

"We have to face the possibility that the health service has been used to get terrorists into Britain and launch attacks against us."

Asha, described as "brilliant", was seized with his lab technician wife Marwah, 27, on the M6 on Saturday with their 18-month-old child in the back of their car.

He worked at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal in Telford before joining the North Staffordshire Hospital, in Stoke-on-Trent.

His father Jamil, 55, refused to accept he could be linked to terrorism. His trembling hands holding the photo of Asha and Queen Noor, he said at his home in the Jordanian capital Amman: "This is a mistake.

"He's very clever and was always studying too hard to have connections like this. I can't see how he could have been linked.

"He and his wife, they knew nothing, they are not part of this."

Asha told his dad last week he was planning to visit home on July 12. Brother Ahmed said: "He's not a Muslim extremist and he's not a fanatic. It's all nonsense."

Asha grew up in a middle-class neighbourhood of Amman.

He is one of eight children. Three are doctors. He attended the elite Jubilee School for academically gifted children, leaving in 1998 with straight As. He studied medicine at the University of Jordan, where he met Marwah.

They moved to Birmingham when he graduated in 2004. A source at the Royal Infirmary said Asha appeared to have no work friends.

The woman said: "He was an exceptionally quiet man although perfectly pleasant. We just supposed it was because he hadn't been in the country for very long and didn't speak very good English.

"You'd never see him in the canteen or socialising. When you asked him what he was doing for the weekend he'd always say 'nothing'."

Asha and his family lived in Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Neighbours said they were quiet and respectable. Dan Robinson, 61, said: "He was an articulate and charming man, a regular guy.

"He wore Western clothes but his wife wore traditional clothes and a headscarf."

Abdullah qualified from the University of Baghdad in 2004 and is a Junior House Officer at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley.

Colleagues said he infuriated doctors with his erratic behaviour and woeful attendance record.

One said: "If he had a defining characteristic it was that he was pretty unreliable. He was in the process of being disciplined over unreasonably excessive 'sickness'.

"He would regularly take off an hour early if he felt like it and often wouldn't bother answering his pager if someone needed him urgently.

"A few weeks ago he was due to work nights. He turned up late and scruffy the first night, the second night he came to work as usual, the next two nights he didn't show up without bothering to tell anyone."

A junior doctor said he saw him reading Arabic websites when he should have been working.

The Indian arrested in Liverpool is said to have been working at a hospital in the Cheshire-Merseyside area for around a year. An unnamed colleague told Muslim News he was a victim of mistaken identity.

Scotland Yard Counter-terrorism Command refused to comment on how many more could be arrested.

A source said: "We're learning more by the hour.

"Every lead needs following. We'll follow them however long it takes."


'I WILL abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine nor act with direct intent deliberately to end a human life. I will maintain the utmost respect for every human life.'

- part of modern version of the Hippocratic Oath traditionally taken by doctors and believed written by Hippocrates, father of medicine, in the 4th century BC.

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