New Leads in London Bombing
British police suspect that the four British/South Asian young men who carried out the London Underground bombings had mentors who came to the country from abroad, recruited them, trained them in bomb making, and then slipped out of the UK shortly before the operation.
The main mentor appears to have been a Britisher of Pakistani origin who had earlier had contacts with al-Qaeda, and who slipped out the the UK the day before the attacks. In addition, the cell had at least two more members.
One member has shown up in the surveillance tapes at King’s Cross with the four bombers. (Newsday says the suspect looks Carribean; other reports say he is of South Asian heritage).
Another suspect in this regard is, according to Reuters, “an Egyptian chemistry student at Leeds University who had lived in the same area of the city as the bombers but who had disappeared days before the attack.” Readers who have been following this column will remember that, based on the earliest claim of responsibility for the bombing, I suggested that the text pointed to an Egyptian author. The British South Asians in Leeds were just cannon fodder. One wonders if the Egyptian element in the cell wrote and released the announcement from “al-Qaeda in Europe.” Al-Hayat says that its sources in the British police tell it that the bombers had wanted to encircle London with fire on all four directions. This ambition was echoed in the communique of al-Qaeda in Europe, which was released almost immediately after the bombing, again suggesting its authenticity.
One of the four bombers appears to have been in contact with the al-Muhajiroun group of Omar Bakri Muhammad in Bedfordshire.
There is great concern about a backlash against British Muslims from the bombings, and a fear that the fascist British National Party will make hay over it. One key al-Qaeda goal is to topple Western democracies and push them into fascism so as to punish Westerners for having supported authoritarian regimes in the Muslim world.
Europe will hold two minutes of silence for the London victims on Thursday. I am urging all my readers to do so, as well, at noon your time. We are all Britishers at this moment of crisis, and must all stand with the innocent victims against the al-Qaeda cult of hatred.
These are the names of the victims as released at the moment, rearranged in alphabetical order by me but quoting the wire service descriptions. Please take a moment to read the names:
“Ciaran Cassidy, 22, of London, believed to have died on the bus; Elizabeth Daplyn, 26, of London is believed to have been aboard the Piccadilly Line train; Jamie Gordon, 30, was identified by officials as being killed on the bus; Richard Gray, 41, a tax manager and father of two from Ipswich died while travelling on a tube;
Miriam Hyman, 31, of Barnet, north London. Believed to have died on the bus; Shahara Islam, believed to have died on the bus; Helen Jones, 28, hasn’t been formally identified, but her family on Sunday said they believed she was killed on the Piccadilly Line train; Susan Levy, 53, mother-of-two from Cuffley, north of London. Levy was travelling on a London Underground Piccadilly Line train; Jennifer Nicholson, 24, of Bristol, died in the Edgware Road bomb; Miheala Otto, 46, of Mill Hill, north London. Believed to have died on the bus, identity released by police; Shyanuja Parathasangary, believed to have died on the bus; Philip Stuart Russell, 29, who worked for finance firm JP Morgan and lived in London; Fiona Stevenson, 29, a lawyer from London, apparently died in the attacks, her family said yesterday; William Wise, believed to have died on the bus; Gladys Wundowa, 51, a cleaning service employee with London’s University College, died on the bus.”
Audrey Gillan’s sensitive profile in the Guardian of Muslim victim Shahara Islam gave me tingles:
“She was a thoroughly modern Muslim, a girl who loved her Burberry plaid handbag and fashionable clothes while at the same time respecting her family’s wishes that she sometimes wore traditional shalwar kameez at home. She went shopping in the West End of London with friends but would always be seen at the mosque for Friday prayers. Shahara Islam, just 20 years old, was a second-generation Bengali who made her family proud when she left Barking Abbey school with a clutch of A levels and went off to take a job as a cashier at the Co-operative Bank. “