UK Police Seek links among Bombers
Reading between the lines of this FT article, I conclude that UK police have not given up on the possibility that both the July 7 and the July 21 bombing cells were run by higher-ups and were linked. The link would not have come at the level of the mere foot soldiers who were to serve as bomb fodder.
Hussein Osman, the Ethiopian-British bomber arrested in Italy, told his interrogators that the July 21 operation was not intended to kill anyone; that it was conceived as punishment of the UK for Western atrocities in Iraq; that his group was not connected to “the Pakistanis” or to al-Qaeda; and that they just took the July 7 bombings as a cue to take action. My problem is that these are exactly the things that an al-Qaeda member captured after a failed attack would be expected to say. Al-Qaeda denied 9/11 initially, and al-Qaeda supporters among the far right Muslim fringe often still deny that there is any al-Qaeda. Moreover, Osman occupied such a low slot in the network that he would have no idea if his handler’s handler had links to the Leeds cell.
The Scotsman reports, ‘ Osman’s statement reportedly confirmed that Said-Ibrahim gathered together “Osman, Mohammed, Yassin Hassam and others, all Muslims, all British citizens” for meetings in a gym in a basement in Notting Hill. “Muktar, our leader, told us that he had material to show us, but that we should be careful and not tell anyone about it,” he was quoted as saying. “Muktar always had new films on the war in Iraq. He showed us especially those in which you saw women and children killed and exterminated by the English and American soldiers, or widows, mothers and daughters who were crying.” ‘
The question the British police are rightly asking is, who “handled” Muktar and provided him with the films of atrocities in Iraq? And, was that handler in contact with the handler of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the July 7 bombings? Remember that the kind of bombs used in the two incidents was the same, which suggests that the two cells were working for a common terrorist control cell.
One clue may be the telephone call that Osman made to Saudi Arabia from Rome shortly before his arrest. Another member of his cell, Muktar Said Ibrahim, spent a month in Saudi Arabia in 2003.
British police are now downplaying the potential role of Haroon Rashid Aswat, who was apprehended by Zambia recently.