Leeds Cell Linked to al-Libi?
The Mystery of the Egyptian Chemist
Pakistani authorities have traced one telephone call from one of the July 7 bombers to a businessman in Pakistan, and are questioning him. They are also following up on other telephone calls to the country from the bombers. Officials have also been visiting madrasahs (the Arabic plural is madaris) or religious schools that the bombers may have attended. One of the bombers, Shehzad Tanveer, appears to have had a strong link to the Jaysh-i Muhammad terrorist group active in infiltrating into Indian-held Kashmir, and may have spent time at the group’s Manzur al-Islam Seminary.
Evidence is emerging that Muhammad Siddique Khan, the oldest of the bombers, may have had links to the al-Qaeda cell of Abu al-Faraj al-Libi, an al-Qaeda leader of the new generation recently captured in Pakistan. The London bombings may have been planned at a summit in Pakistan in March of 2004. Muhammad Siddique Khan may have also had links to the two British-South Asian suicide bombers who mounted an attempted attack in Israel.
The case of the Egyptian suspect in the London July 7 bombing grows curioser and curioser. He admits that he owned the key to the apartment where the bombs were made, but maintains he did not know about the bomb-making. He himself is a chemist. Egyptian authorities also say that he was arrested in 1992 for his connections to a member of al-Jihad al-Islami, who went on to involvement in an attack on tourists in Luxor in 1997. The circumstantial evidence looks . . . bad.
On the other hand, the Egyptian Interior Ministry seems convinced of Elnashar’s innocence and is refusing to hand him over to the UK authorities. The Egyptian Interior Ministry despises al-Jihad al-Islami and wouldn’t hesitate to toss Elnashar into prison and throw away the key if they thought he was involved with them.
I don’t pretend to understand what in the world is going on here. The guy hangs around with very shady characters everywhere he goes. One possibility is that he was “turned” when he was arrested in 1992 and does some informing for the Egyptian government on the radical Muslim networks. But as usual I can’t do more than speculate from a distance based on these fragmentary reports, and I could well be wrong.