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Police arrest 7 suspects in raid



Published: Mon, August 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Authorities still wonder how one person escaped from a manhunt.

LONDON (AP) -- Police arrested seven people Sunday during a raid on an apartment in southern England, bringing to 21 the number in custody in the relentless hunt for accomplices in the failed July 21 transit bombings.

Investigators determined to prevent further attacks also were probing possible ties between two of the bombing suspects and Saudi Arabia, British newspapers reported. Police were searching for anyone who may have recruited and directed the attackers and built the explosives.

Police arrested the six men and one woman during a search of two buildings in Brighton, on the southern coast, said a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity because her department does not allow her to give her name. So far, 18 people have been arrested in Britain and three in Italy.

Not finished yet

She said police believed there were more people at large who were involved in the July 21 attacks, in which four bombs partly exploded, and the deadly July 7 suicide bombings.

Both attacks targeted three subway trains and a double-decker bus. All the July 7 attackers were believed dead; police have in custody four suspects they believe planted the explosives July 21.

"It's extremely likely there will be other people [who were] involved in harboring [suspects], financing and making the devices," the spokeswoman said.

Key suspects were being interrogated in London in relation to the failed July 21 attempts, police said. In Italy, authorities were pursuing contacts linked to Osman Hussain, 27, who was arrested in Rome on Friday and is suspected of trying to bomb the Shepherd's Bush subway station in west London.

Possible key discovery

Police have discovered that Hussain called Saudi Arabia hours before his arrest, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported, and the Sunday Times said another bombing suspect -- Ethiopian-born Briton Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27 -- took a monthlong trip to Saudi Arabia in 2003, telling friends he was receiving training there.

Britain was facing questions about how Hussain, also known as Hamdi Issac, slipped out of the country during a massive police manhunt. Italy's Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu says Hussain left London's Waterloo station by train July 26.

The Home Office said immigration officials generally do not check the passports of people leaving the country. However, police had asked that checks be made at many departure points after the attacks, including Waterloo, a Home Office spokesman said on condition of anonymity, according to government policy.

Geoff Hoon, leader of the House of Commons, said he realized there was concern about whether the checks were stringent enough.

"I am aware that the Home Office will be looking at that," he told British Broadcasting Corp. television. "I understand the criticism. It's important that we are able to identify those coming into the country as well as those leaving."

Police had released closed-circuit television images of the four bombing suspects shortly after the attacks, but the picture of Hussain, whose name was not made public until his arrest, was grainy and his face difficult to see. Police put out a clearer image of him a day after his escape.

Italian news reports said Hussain's real name was Hamdi Issac and that he was from Ethiopia, not Somalia. He falsely listed his country of origin as Somalia when he applied for asylum and citizenship in Britain, the reports said.

Hussain was arrested Friday in Rome at the apartment of his brother Remzi Issac, who also was detained.

On Sunday, Italian police detained a second brother of Hussain, Fati Issac, for questioning, the Italian news agency ANSA said. Fati Issac was accused of destroying or hiding documents sought by investigators, ANSA said.




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