- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2007

GLASGOW, Scotland — Britain announced two additional arrests today in the failed car bombings in London and at Glasgow’s airport, and a witness said police were closing in on the terror network just before attackers rammed the Scottish terminal building.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said police had searched at least 19 locations as part of a “fast-moving investigation” into what British officials have called an al Qaeda-linked network. Media reports have said two of the seven suspects arrested so far may be doctors working in Britain, including an Iraqi.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mrs. Smith urged Britons to remain united.

“Let us be clear: Terrorists are criminals, whose victims come from all walks of life, communities and religious backgrounds,” she said. “Terrorists attack the values that are shared by all law-abiding citizens.”

Daniel Gardiner, a rental agent whose company leased a Glasgow-area home searched by police, said authorities contacted his firm 10 minutes before the airport attack, saying they had tracked phone records there linked to the two foiled car bombings in central London.

“A card was put through one of my colleague’s door, asking if we would contact them,” he said.

“A couple of hours later, they [police] came back to us with a name, and we were able to trace their records,” he said. “The police wanted to know why we had dialed a certain phone number. They had the phone records from the situation down in London.”

Vigilance was already heightened ahead of the anniversary of Britain’s first suicide attacks, the July 7, 2005, London transit bombings in which four British-bred Muslims killed themselves and 52 commuters on three subway trains and a bus.

In the latest attacks, two car bombs failed to explode in central London on Friday and two men rammed a Jeep Cherokee into the entrance of Glasgow International Airport on Saturday.

Police in Glasgow said today that two more men were arrested the day before in the airport bomb attack investigation. Strathclyde police said the two, aged 25 and 28, were detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Police have declined to identify any of the suspects, but British television and newspapers widely identified one as Mohammed Asha, a doctor working at the North Staffordshire Hospital, near the Midlands town of Newcastle-under-Lyme, where the police searched a house yesterday. The hospital refused comment.

The man was arrested along with a 27-year-old woman when the police pulled over a car on the M6 highway in northwest England late Saturday. British media have described a chase that involved 18 undercover police cars along one of the country’s busiest roadways.

In Jordan, Asha’s brother Ahmed told Associated Press he had heard the media reports and said his 26-year-old sibling “is not a Muslim extremist, and he’s not a fanatic.”

“It’s nonsense because he has no terror connections,” he said.

Britain’s Sky News and the British Broadcasting Corp., citing unidentified sources, gave the name of a second doctor arrested as Bilal Abdulla. Police would not comment on the report and the Iraqi Embassy declined comment. According to the British General Medical Council’s register, a man named Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla was registered in 2004 and was trained in Baghdad.

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