Evidence of Fifth Bomber in London Attacks
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
And I'm Michele Norris.
We're going to begin today with the latest from London. Police there have identified two of the men they believe were involved in last Thursday's failed bombings, but they did not release the men's nationalities or give details about their backgrounds. Two other men were arrested today. Officers believe they were involved in the attack as well. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed sorrow for the fatal shooting of a Brazilian man on a subway train last Friday. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has details from London.
ANTHONY KUHN reporting:
At a press briefing today, Peter Clarke, the head of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch, detailed the movements of the four suspects whose pictures were released on Friday. Three of them, he said, had entered south London's Stockwell Underground station at around half past noon on Thursday.
Mr. PETER CLARKE (Metropolitan Police): The first man got onto a northern-line northbound train, and shortly afterwards attempted to set off a bomb between Stockwell and Oval stations. The train stopped at Oval station, and he was then chased from the station by extraordinary, brave members of the public who tried to detain him.
KUHN: Clarke identified the second man as 27-year-old Muktar Said-Ibrahim, who is suspected of trying to set off a bomb on the number 26 bus in East London. Police raided a north London home this morning that they believed he had visited. Neighbors told the BBC that men of Somali origin had frequented the house. They said that the men had recently brought in dozens of boxes which they said contained paint stripper. Clarke said police had examined the unexploded bombs and found them to be similar to a fifth device apparently abandoned on a west London street. Clarke then displayed a plastic food tub which he said the suspects had packed with explosives and concealed in backpacks. He then asked merchants for information.
Mr. CLARKE: My appeal is to any shopkeepers or shop workers who may have sold five or more of these identical food containers in recent months, perhaps to the same customer. Do you remember selling any of these items at the same time?
KUHN: Clarke identified the third suspect as 24-year-old Yasin Hassan Omar and said that he had tried to set off a bomb on the Victoria line. Clarke said police arrested two suspects in north London today, bringing the total number of suspects in custody to five. Police are reportedly looking at whether some of the suspects in the two attacks may have met at a June rafting trip in Wales. Sajjan Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a counter-terrorism think tank, said that Thursday's attempted bombing suggested a more carefully planned operation than a simple imitation of the July 7th attacks.
Mr. SAJJAN GOHEL (Asia-Pacific Foundation): We're only beginning to touch the surface of this investigation into the London bombings. It is becoming clearer that this is quite an elaborate network that comprises of at least two cells. It is more than possible that there could be more than this.
KUHN: The Independent Police Complaints Commission today continued its inquiry into the fatal shooting by police of a Brazilian electrician on Friday. A police officer told the inquiry that armed officers shot 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes seven times in the head and once in the shoulder. Prime Minister Tony Blair today expressed sorrow for the man's death, but urged people to support the police in their duties.
Prime Minister TONY BLAIR (Great Britain): Had the circumstances been different and, for example, this had turned out to be a terrorist and they had failed to take that action, they would have been criticized the other way.
KUHN: Menezes' family said that they were considering suing police over his death. Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, London.