London Bombing Probe Spreads; Funerals Begin

Investigators in Egypt and Pakistan assume a role as British authorities seek to identify all responsible for the July 7 London bombings. And funerals are set for some of those killed in the blasts. The death toll is now at 55.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

The investigation into last week's attacks on London is turning up more clues. Explosions on The Underground and a double-decker bus killed 55 people and injured many more. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from London.

Anthony, thanks for being with us.

ANTHONY KUHN reporting:

Sure, Scott. Good morning.

SIMON: And bring us up to date, please, on some of the latest threads in the investigation. You had authorities in Egypt who detained that biochemist whose bathtub in Leeds has shown traces of explosives. Now we're hearing reports about arrests in Pakistan.

KUHN: Yes, that's right, Scott. As the investigation broadens overseas, we understand from Pakistan that security agents have been questioning students and teachers at at least one madrassa--that is, a religious school near the Pakistani city of Lahore, and what they're asking them is about the movements of suspects named by the police in connection with the London bombings. One of them, Mr. Shehzad Tanweer, a 22-year-old Leeds resident who's believed to be responsible for one blast, did visit Pakistan last year, according to his family, and visited mosques and madrassas, and one madrassa outside Lahore has been associated with a group called the Army of Mohammed, and that group has been linked to al-Qaeda. So the security forces are trying to find out just what Mr. Tanweer and possibly his accomplices did there.

SIMON: British government, meanwhile, has announced more security measures in place. What do some of those measures include?

KUHN: Well, these have been expected in the wake of the bombings. But one thing the home office minister, Hazel Blears, has mentioned is that the government is going to make it a criminal offense to receive or give training in the use of hazardous substances. Clearly, they're targeting these terrorist schools of the sort al-Qaeda and other bombers have attended to learn how to make bombs. They're also going to outlaw what they call acts preparatory to terrorism, or incitement to terrorism, and this is because the government has made many arrests--hundreds of arrests since 2001--of terrorist suspects, but they've obtained very few convictions because these people haven't done anything yet. And now they're lowering the bar on what the government can accuse them of in terms of acts preparatory to terrorism.

SIMON: And another act of terrorism elsewhere in the world has put Britons in harm's way today. This happened in Turkey.

KUHN: That's right. This was at a resort on the Aegean Sea called Kusadasi, and what we understand is that a bomb hit a minibus in this resort town and that at least four people were killed and another--as many as 16 people were wounded, among them five Britons who were seriously injured. And the Turkish government has called this a terrorist attack, but they haven't said who's responsible. This area has been the site of another bombing earlier by Kurdish separatists.

SIMON: And finally, Anthony, the first funeral of a victim of the London bomb blasts has been held. This is a woman whose name and face and story have become pretty well-known over the past few days. What can you tell us about her?

KUHN: Well, Shahara Islam was a 20-year-old bank clerk from East London and she'd been all over the British press. She had become the human face of Muslims caught up in the attacks, and her funeral was held at a mosque in East London and attended by thousands of people who mourned her passing and also condemned the bombings. And the coroners have just begun to release the bodies of victims, and we're also expecting to see the cremation tomorrow of Susan Levy, who was the first victim identified following the bombings.

SIMON: Anthony Kuhn in London, thank you very much.

KUHN: Thank you, Scott.

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