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LONDON TERROR All bombing suspects now in custody



Published: Sat, July 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The failed bombing suspects were caught in a series of daring police raids.

LONG ISLAND NEWSDAY

LONDON -- In dramatic, bloodless raids, police in London and Rome captured the last of four bombing suspects in last week's botched mass-transit attacks Friday and reportedly were seeking the extradition of a suspect in the July 7 blasts.

The arrests -- including one in which police ended a tense standoff by lobbing gas canisters into a flat near fashionable Notting Hill -- represented another coup in Britain's breakneck hunt for home-grown terrorists.

However, authorities warned that the masterminds, and perhaps other terror cells, could still be on the loose. "We must not be complacent," said Peter Clarke, head of the Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist division. "The threat remains and is very real."

Rapid capture

The most dramatic arrests were near Notting Hill in West London, when heavily armed police in gas masks and balaclavas swooped in on two suspected bombers.

In Rome, Italian police working with British authorities seized a third alleged bomber, Osman Hussain, a Somali-born Briton. Hussain, who was traced through his cell-phone calls, had fled to Rome via Paris and Milan and was arrested in a hotel lounge. Italian authorities also were questioning his brother, who lives in Rome.

British authorities had arrested the first of the four bombing suspects two days earlier in the northern city of Birmingham after shooting him with a stun gun.

London police Friday also seized a man in a second West London apartment building who reportedly may have been enlisted to be a fifth July 21 attacker. A bomb believed intended for that attack was found several days ago in a shrub near where the raids occurred Friday.

At least three of the four suspects are British naturalized citizens or long-term residents from Somalia or Eritrea.

Authorities reportedly want to extradite a Briton of Indian heritage nabbed earlier this week in Zambia. He is believed to be a key contact of the July 7 bombers and allegedly was involved in trying to start a terror training camp in Oregon in the late 1990s.

Apartment standoff

The most dramatic of Friday's raids were at a vast West London apartment complex where scores of residents, some crying in fear or dressed only in nightclothes, were evacuated before police engaged in an hours-long standoff with two suspects.

"Mohammed! Take your clothes off! Come out with your hands on your head!" neighbors quoted police as shouting to one suspect.

"I have rights!" the man screamed back.

Later, neighbors said, the man protested that he was scared to come out in his underwear. "How do I know you're not going to shoot me?" he asked in a voice that one neighbor said sounded petrified and as if he were fighting tears.

Police eventually lobbed gas canisters and perhaps stun grenades into the fourth-floor apartment. The devices exploded with loud bangs and with such force that one tenant living next to the suspects was thrown across a room, a neighbor said. The two suspects then emerged shirtless on a balcony, rubbing their eyes and blowing their noses, apparently as a result of the gas. Police led one man out in a white head-to-toe jumpsuit to preserve forensic evidence.

Suspect identities

The man named Mohammed was believed to be Ramzi Mohammed, the bombing suspect caught before and after the Oval Tube station bombing in a "New York" sweat shirt. Shocked neighbors said he was a very friendly man in his mid-30s who worked as a city bus driver -- not on a route targeted in the attacks -- and had lived in the building for more than a year.




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