British Police Make Progress on Bombings

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Robert Siegel talks with Duncan Campbell of The Guardian. Campbell talks about the latest in the investigation of the bombings in London.


We're joined now by Duncan Campbell, special correspondent for the British daily the Guardian, who's been covering this case.

Welcome back to the program.

Mr. DUNCAN CAMPBELL (Special Correspondent, Guardian): Thanks very much.

SIEGEL: First, today's arrests--only one, the police say, of a suspected bomber. Does that mean that the police think that they are arresting underlings or planners or people who assisted in the bombings last week--the attempted bombings?

Mr. CAMPBELL: They're arresting associates; that's the impression that we're getting certainly up in Birmingham. And they've--they're carrying out a search down in south London at the moment. They're holding another four people who've been arrested over the last few days in London, none of them believed to be bombers. But, yeah, the situation is that three of the four suicide bombers are still on the run, and one of them is now in detention in Paddington Green, which is our main anti-terrorist police station, where he will be interrogated.

SIEGEL: What do you make of the flight of the men who are suspected of trying to set off bombs last week, people who we assume, if they were intending to carry out suicide bombings, had no expectation of being alive after that morning?

Mr. CAMPBELL: It is remarkable. And the police, I think, were quite dismayed not to have caught any of them before. So they're very relieved with what happened today, and obviously they're hoping that one will lead them to another. There's a report coming in just now, unconfirmed, that one of them may have been trying to slip out to Amsterdam by bus. We had a plane stopped on the runway at Luton. It turned out to be a false alarm. But I think the amount of activity that's going on in London at the moment is a constant background of police sirens heading from one place to another. The amount of activity that's going on--I think they're hoping that they will get at least one of the others very soon.

SIEGEL: What do the police now make of the possible links between the attempted bombings of July 21st and the bombings in London that did occur on July 7th?

Mr. CAMPBELL: There seem to be some links in some telephone contacts between the two sets. But in terms of background, we've got a Somalian, an Eritrean who are being sought in connection with the bombs that didn't go off, whereas the background of the other ones who were from Leeds was very much of Pakistani origin and from Asian background up in Leeds. So I think one of the things that detectives find disturbing is that it's not a homogeneous group. You've got people from different nationalities, different backgrounds, different parts of the country, all of them involved.

And the other find that is alarming them is the car left behind by the suicide bombers who did carry out their bombings. And there's about 16 different contraptions, some of them bombs, which would seem to indicate that they were either being left there for somebody else to pick up, which would indicate possibly a third group of bombers involved.

SIEGEL: Have you heard, to you, a persuasive explanation of the simultaneous failure of, say, four explosive devices in the same morning?

Mr. CAMPBELL: I haven't heard, apart from the fact that it does happen. And over the years I remember covering IRA cases, there were quite a few of what they used to call lone goals(ph) when they hadn't gone off properly or they'd gone off and killed the bomber by mistake. The police just say that these were not left as dummies as a kind of scare tactic. They were actually meant to go off, and it's only by pure luck that we didn't have another 50 or 60 people killed in London last week.

SIEGEL: Duncan Campbell, thanks a lot for talking with us.

Mr. Campbell is special correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, and he's covering the investigation into both the bombings of July 21st and also the earlier--that is the attempted bombings of July 21st and the actual bombings of the 7th.

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