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Details Foggy in Death of London Suspect

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Details Foggy in Death of London Suspect


Details Foggy in Death of London Suspect

Details Foggy in Death of London Suspect

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The identity of the man shot in the London subway Friday remains unclear. The man wore a bulky jacket despite summer temperatures, and was shot after being tackled by undercover police. Four men identified as suspects in Thursday's bombings have not been apprehended. Martin Bright of The Observer discusses the case with Melissa Block.


Now to Martin Bright who's following the story for the Sunday newspaper The Observer in London.

Thanks for being with us.

Mr. MARTIN BRIGHT (The Observer): No problem.

BLOCK: Let's just start with the man who was shot today by police in the subway. We just heard Ian Blair say that the man was challenged, refused to obey police instructions. Have you been able to learn anything more about what led to him being shot, say, as opposed to being detained by police?

Mr. BRIGHT: It seems unclear as to whether he was one of the bombers. They're not confirming one way or the other. It seemed earlier in the day that they thought that perhaps he was. Then the message became clear that he wasn't, and now they're backtracking again. It seems a little bit foggy, but what did happen was that this man was under surveillance. He then left his house this morning, got on a bus, headed on the bus to the Tube station, the subway station, entered the subway station and attempted to get on a train. At that point, they decided to intervene, apprehend him, and presumably with the concern that he was going to commit some sort of further act. They stopped him. He did not respond, and so he was shot. I should say that is kind of counter to police procedures. I mean, this was not supposed to happen.

BLOCK: Yeah, and presumably, if they had not shot him, they might have been able to get intelligence information from interviewing him, interrogating him.

Mr. BRIGHT: Yeah, I mean, the ideal thing is to apprehend people alive, obviously. I mean, I can only assume that they thought that something in his bulky jacket may have been explosives and that the only option they had was to shoot him. But there have been these instances in the past with IRA suspects who have been shot in what appears to be a shoot-to-kill policy. And this will cause police some degree of problems as they attempt to track these people down.

BLOCK: There were also these closed-circuit TV images that were released today of the four suspected bombers in yesterday's bombing attempts. Any conclusions to be drawn from those images and how they may relate to the previous attackers two weeks ago?

Mr. BRIGHT: Yes, we have to be quite careful not to speculate. There is so much speculation around the bombings two weeks ago, all we end up with is that we know that these four young men carried out the bombing. This time, the only conclusion we can draw really is that these four individuals are believed by the police to have escaped on Thursday. We have no names. We have no information about them. We know they're linked to three addresses that have been raided, and obviously journalists have headed around to those addresses to see if there are any clues that can be picked up there. But all we know is something that's really quite terrifying, which is that these four individuals are still on the loose, and we can only hope that the police apprehend them with possibly the help of the public.

BLOCK: It would seem there would be a wealth of forensic information that will be available. I mean, the explosive devices yesterday were left on the vehicles. There's whatever forensic evidence they've gleaned from the attacks two weeks ago. Have you learned anything about whether those explosives match, whether they seem to be the same kinds of bombs?

Mr. BRIGHT: The initial information coming from the police who, as you say, are turning what could have been an absolute catastrophe for them to--they've turned this to their advantage. What we do seem to realize is that the police believe that these explosives are, at least by sight, very similar to the explosives used two weeks ago. But as I understand it, the forensic examination of the chemical makeup of these bombs is still ongoing, and we have no confirmation that it is the same material or from the same source.

BLOCK: And is there any explanation for why yesterday's bombs turned out to be essentially duds, didn't detonate the way they had been intended to?

Mr. BRIGHT: Again, there are several theories as to whether this was degraded material from the original source, or whether the detonators went off, which they seem to have done from eyewitness accounts, and it was just a bad job of bomb making. And, of course, we have no way of knowing what conclusion to draw from that. Does it mean that the expert bomb maker that made the first bombs was not involved in the second bombings or simply that the material involved had got old?

BLOCK: Martin Bright, thanks for talking with us.

Mr. BRIGHT: Thank you.

BLOCK: Martin Bright is home affairs editor of The Observer in London.

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