More arrests in the London attacks—this time of Somali immigrants in Birmingham. From Saudi Arabia’s English-language Arab News, July 28:
In a dramatic breakthrough yesterday, Scotland Yard confirmed they have arrested 24 -year-old Yasin Hassan Omar, one of the four failed bombers who tried to detonate a bomb in Warren Street tube station last Thursday.
Police yesterday also arrested six more people in the hunt for the London bombers, and continued to question another five people arrested over the last few days. Other raids were also in progress at North London premises, in East Finchley and New Southgate.
In a dawn raid yesterday, armed officers from the anti-terrorist branch supported by colleagues from the bomb disposal unit of the Royal Logistic Corps, swooped on two addresses in Birmingham in the West Midlands.
At a house in the Hay Mills area, police had to use a “Taser” stun gun to disable one of four prime suspects in the second wave of London bombings on July 21 . Yasin Hassan Omar, a Somali-born asylum seeker, was thought to have explosives strapped to his body.
According to police, he had a rucksack on his back at the time of the arrest. As soon as he was stunned, the police threw the rucksack out of a window in case it was primed to detonate.
Police cleared over 100 homes in the area as a precautionary measure, as bomb disposal and forensic experts converged to conduct a crime scene investigation.
A few streets away in the Washwood Heath area, police broke down the front door of a house and arrested three men of “Somali descent”. Neighbors stressed that the young men, who had lived at the rented house for about six months, “kept to themselves and hardly mixed with anyone.” Police also briefly detained the Pakistani landlord and his brother, to eliminate them from their inquiries.
Later in the day, Tyneside police arrested two men under the Anti-Terrorism Act as they boarded a train at Grantham. The train was on its way from Newcastle to King’s Cross station in London, the scene of the devastating first wave of attacks on July 7 in which some 56 people died.
Meanwhile, authorities are now debating whether the 7-7 bombers were in fact suicide martyrs or dupes. They apparently purchased round-trip rail tickets from Luton to London, Germaine Lindsay’s rented car left in Luton had a seven-day parking sticker on the dashboard, a large quantity of explosives was found in the trunk of that car, and another bomber had recently spent a large sum to repair his car. Some argue that the round-trip tickets could have been a subterfuge to throw off suspicion; others point out that the 9-11 hijackers all purchased one-way tickets. (NYT, AP, July 27) Conspiranoid web sites like Prison Planet will undoubtedly jump on these revelations in support of their theory that the bombers were “were hired as the unwitting fall guys for an operation of which the planning and execution was organized at the very highest levels of the parallel British government.” They will also undoubtedly overlook the countervailing evidence—such as the explosives found in Lindsay’s car. (See our last post on anomalies in the London attacks.)
London authorities say there have been over 250 bomb scares in the city since July 7. “I know there have been 250 incidents since July 7 where we have considered whether we are seeing a suicide bomber,” said police chief Ian Blair. (UK Ch. 4 News, July 26) Hundreds of relatives and friends of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian immigrant mistakenly shot by police on the London Underground, marched in Gonzaga, Brazil, with banners denouncing the London police as the real terrorists. (The Scotsman, July 26) Meanwhile in New York, Penn Station was evacuated July 25 after an irate man argued with an Amtrak clerk and apparently made an off-the-cuff bomb threat. (He may face jail, even though it was just bullshit.) That same day, a sight-seeing bus was evacuated near Times Square and five men onboard—apparently of South Asian background—were handcuffed and made to kneel on the sidewalk as a heavily-armed police team in helmets and body armor questioned them. They were freed when it was determined the bus operator had over-reacted to the sight of five South Asian men with fanny packs. (NYC, July 25; Newsday, July 27) (See our last post on fear in the NY subways.)
Is this what urban life is going to be like for the rest of our lives?
See our last post on the aftermath of the London attacks.