London Suspect Linked to Prior Plot
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
British and Pakistani investigators are tracing the travels of the four men suspected of carrying out the July 7th suicide bombings in London, and they continue to search for others who may have been connected to the bombers. Three of the four men are known to have traveled to Pakistan last year. Stewart Tendler is covering the investigation for The Times of London and joins us now.
And, Mr. Tendler, tell us, please, what's known about this Pakistan connection. Where did the men go and what were they doing in Pakistan?
Mr. STEWART TENDLER (The Times of London): Well, we're told that they met known al-Qaeda suspects during their trip. They spent most of their time, we think, with groups from militant organizations in the country. One Pakistani official told us yesterday that Khan and Tanweer, two of the four bombers, traveled to Pakistan in November last year. They stayed until early this year, and they were joined later by Hasib Hussain, the third of the Leeds bombers--Leeds in Yorkshire, which is where they came from.
BLOCK: The fourth suspect was born in Jamaica, raised in England. This is 19-year-old Germaine Lindsey. What's known about how he might be connected to the other three?
Mr. TENDLER: Well, the connections may well be the plot itself because there's nothing else that, as far as we're aware at the moment, links him to the other three. The other three come from pretty much the same area of the north of England, whereas he spent most of his life in an area outside of London, has a wife who has one child and, in fact, is pregnant with a second. And she, like him, is a convert to Islam.
BLOCK: The Sunday Times in London reported this weekend that one of these four suspects, Mohammed Sidique Khan had, in fact, come to the attention of police in Britain last year. What can you tell us about that?
Mr. TENDLER: He, we understand, had links to people--investigators in another major police operation in the UK, but he was very peripheral to that--or considered very peripheral to that and was never put under any urgent scrutiny.
BLOCK: And what have authorities said about why that was the case? Why was he allowed to sort of melt into the background?
Mr. TENDLER: Well, I think the problem here is that in any investigation, whether it's terrorist or criminal, they're going to be loads of nominals, names that come up in the system, who your suspect has been in contact with or may be related to, things like that. We're not quite sure where Khan fits in in this instance.
BLOCK: There seem to be a number of other loose ends that raise all sorts of questions...
Mr. TENDLER: Well...
BLOCK: ...one of which is that the men apparently bought round-trip train tickets when they arrived in London.
Mr. TENDLER: There's a lot of things that are not explained. There's explosives that were left in the car that some of them had used. There were other explosives left in what's loosely being described as a bomb factory back in their hometown. Why did one of them not take a train with the others? Why did he--what did he do for almost an hour before his bomb exploded on a bus? You're quite right about the train tickets. We think they did take return tickets. We--they also paid for--put parking tickets on their car when they left it at the railway station before they headed into London.
BLOCK: Parking tickets that would have extended for some time?
Mr. TENDLER: Yes, that's right.
BLOCK: What would that imply, the round-trip tickets and the parking tickets?
Mr. TENDLER: Well, there's--there have been some speculation that they may have been duped, that, in fact, what they were doing--they weren't suicide bombers, but what they were doing was delivering parcels, packages, and that they were going to set the bo--leave the bombs ticking on a timer and then withdraw. But I don't think the police believe this. I think they're still fairly certain they're dealing with suicide bombers rather than something else.
BLOCK: Well, Mr. Tendler, thanks very much for talking with us.
Mr. TENDLER: OK, bye.
BLOCK: Stewart Tendler is crime correspondent for The Times of London.
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