Terror plot hatched in British hospitals
By Kim Sengupta, Ian Herbert and Cahal Milmo
Published: 03 July 2007
A suspected secret cell of foreign militants, believed to be linked to
al-Qa'ida and using British hospitals as cover, are being questioned over the
terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow.
Five of the eight people under arrest last night are said to be doctors.
Another of those detained is the wife of one of the doctors, who is a medical
assistant working for the NHS. The home of a sixth doctor is said to have been
searched by police. Late last night an Australian television network reported
that a suspect wanted in connection with the attacks had been arrested in Brisbane.
Attention has been focused on a group of nationals from the Middle East, who had not previously attracted the
interest of security agencies.
Until now, cases of Islamist terrorism have involved mainly Muslims who were
born and brought up in Britain.
The alleged arrival of teams from abroad to carry out attacks, their identities
unknown to the domestic law agencies, adds another dimension to the terrorist
threat being faced in the United
Following the link between the attacks in London
control of the investigation was transferred to Scotland Yard. With the
security alert staying at the highest possible level and warnings that another
attack may be "imminent", police carried out 19 raids across the
country, arresting nationals from Jordan,
Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Among
those arrested was Mohammed Jamil Abdelqader Asha, a 26-year-old neurologist
who was born in Saudi Arabia
but is of Palestinian origin and was travelling on a Jordanian passport. He and
his 27-year-old wife, a medical assistant, were arrested on the M6 in Cheshire, in connection with the attempted bombings in London.
Also under arrest was Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla, an Iraqi from Baghdad who arrived in the UK in April 2006. He is said to
have been one of the two men in the Cherokee Jeep in the Glasgow airport attack, and is suffering from
His companion, under arrest, is also from Iraq,
while two other men, aged 25 and 28, arrested in Paisley yesterday, were said
to be doctors from Saudi
Police carried out a controlled explosion on a blue Vauxhall car yesterday
at Royal Alexandra
Hospital, in Paisley, near Glasgow, where Dr Abdulla
worked and where he is being treated for his injuries. It was the second such
detonation at the hospital, following a white BMW on Sunday. Strathclyde Police
said the two vehicles were "connected" with the airport attack.
Dr Asha, 26, has been in Britain
since 2005 and had worked at the North
where his office was being searched yesterday following a raid at his home at
Sunningdale Grove in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
There were police searches in the same town two miles from Dr Asha's home at
Priam Close, Bradwell, which, according to neighbours, was rented by another
doctor and his wife.
Further searches were carried out in Liverpool
at the home of a man who had been arrested after being disabled with a taser
gun after police surrounded his car. According to neighbours, the man was a
doctor from India who worked
at Halton Hospital
in Cheshire. A
colleague told the newspaper, Muslim News, that the man may have been detained
because he was using the mobile telephone and internet account of another man
who has recently left Britain.
Last night Dr Asha's father, Jamil Asha, asked King Abdullah of Jordan to
intercede on behalf of his son. He vehemently stressed to journalists in Amman that his son was
not involved in any terrorist activity.
"All he wanted to do was get on with his life. He prays like any good
Muslim but was certainly not a fanatic," said Mr Asha. "He was
planning to visit us on 12 July. He called me three days ago to check the body
sizes of his six brothers and two sisters. My son wanted to buy them gifts from
before his departure." Dr Asha's brother, Ahmed, said he was surprised by
news of his arrest. "The first news we heard of this was broadcast by an
Arabic satellite channel. It's nonsense because he has no terror
Dr Abdulla, who had qualified in Baghdad in
2004, a year after the US-led invasion, has been in Britain since August 2006. He is
said to have lived in Jordan
before arriving in the UK.
The failed car bomb attacks in London
early on Friday morning involved two Mercedes saloons. They had been packed
with gas cylinders, petrol and nails with two mobile telephones acting as
detonators. The bombers had, according to a security source, tried to detonate
the car outside Tiger Tiger bar with four phone calls. Two calls had been made
to the car in Cockspur Street,
which was later towed away to a car pound. The bombs failed because of a
Detectives believe that a Mercedes involved in the failed attacks in London came from Scotland. They have tracked part of
the car's route south last week using number-plate recognition technology
mounted in cameras along the M6.
The raids and arrests across the country which followed are said to have
resulted mainly from clues gathered from the two cars, including calls made to
the mobile telephones.
* OPERATION CREVICE
Five men plotted to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London with massive
MI5 were watching the ringleaders when, in February 2004, a supervisor at a London self-storage
reported three men stashing 600kg of ammonium nitrate fertiliser.
Cell member Jawad Akbar was recorded discussing the nightclub attack: "
No one can put their hands up and say they are innocent." Fearful the gang
would attack, the police launched a series of raids. Akbar, Omar Khyam, Waheed
Mahmood, Anthony Garcia and Salahuddin Amin - British citizens - were convicted
at the Old Bailey in April of conspiracy to cause explosions.
* 7 JULY 2005
As the morning rush-hour ended, Shehzad Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay and
Mohammad Siddique blew up the explosive-packed rucksacks they were carrying on
London Underground trains at Russell
Road and Aldgate. An hour later, Hasib Hussain
detonated his on a number 30 bus in Tavistock
Square. They were all from Yorkshire,
except Lindsay, who lived in Aylesbury.
The four men were motivated by "fierce antagonism to perceived
injustices by the West against Muslims," according to the Government
report into the bombings.
A total of 52 people were killed and more than 770 were injured.
* 21 JULY 2005
A fortnight to the day after the 7 July attacks, four attempted bombings
took place in central London.
Faulty bombs were found on trains at Oval, Warren Street and Shepherds Bush stations
and on a bus in Hackney, gifting the police a wealth of forensic evidence.
The trial at Woolwich Crown Court of six men, who deny conspiracy to murder,
heard that the bombs were made using chapatti flour and hydrogen peroxide.
The six, Muktar Ibrahim, Manfo Asiedu, Hussein Osman, Yassin Omar, Ramzi
Mohammed and Adel Yaha, are all originally from Africa.
The trial jury went out to consider its verdict on 28 June. The jury is
* DHIREN BAROT
Indian-born Barot plotted to create carnage on an "unprecedented
scale" . His plans included blowing up a Tube train in a tunnel beneath
the Thames. Barot, from London, was jailed for at least 40 years in
November for conspiracy to murder. There was no evidence he had acquired the
materials to carry out his attacks, but his plans were found on his computer.