- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 17, 2005

LONDON — British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday the “evil ideology” of al Qaeda must be pulled up by the roots as the death toll from the July 7 London subway and bus bombings rose to 55.

“Within Britain, we must join up with our Muslim community to take on the extremists,” Mr. Blair said in a speech in London. “Worldwide, we should confront it everywhere it exists.”

Speaking nine days after four British Muslims carried bombs onto underground trains and a bus and blew themselves up along with 51 rush-hour commuters, he said: “We must pull this up by the roots.”

Police yesterday released chilling pictures of the four men walking into a railway station on the morning of the bombings to take a train to London. Dressed in casual clothes and carrying backpacks, they looked like young vacationers.

Police are looking for a support network of planners, bomb-makers and financiers behind the men. They expect to find clear links to al Qaeda, the militant Islamist network behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and other bombings from Indonesia to Iraq and from Africa to Spain.



Three of the bombers — Hasib Hussain, Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer — were young British Muslims of Pakistani origin, while the fourth, Germaine Lindsay, was a Jamaican-born Briton.

Pakistani security forces detained two men overnight in the eastern city of Lahore on suspicion of links with one of the men, Tanweer, bringing the total number of arrests in Pakistan to six.

“We are interrogating whether these two people had any links with Tanweer,” an intelligence official told Reuters.

Tanweer had visited Faisalabad and Lahore during two trips to Pakistan over the last two years. Pakistani intelligence sources say that in 2003 he met a man later arrested for bombing a church in the capital, Islamabad.

Officials of two security agencies yesterday questioned teachers, students and other staff of a madrassa, or Islamic school, in Lahore that Tanweer was thought to have visited in 2004, though its administrator denied he had done so.

In Egypt, police have arrested a British-trained biochemist, Magdy Mahmoud Mustafa el-Nashar, and are questioning him about the attacks.

But Egyptian Interior Minister Habib el-Adli told the al-Gomhuria newspaper that Mr. el-Nashar was not a member of al Qaeda and that Western and Arab media had drawn hasty conclusions about the arrested man.

The 33-year-old Egyptian was a researcher at Leeds University in England, and police are carrying out extensive searches at his rented house in the city, which was home to three of the bombers.

Families of the bombers released statements expressing sorrow and disbelief.

“We are devastated that our son may have been brainwashed into carrying out such an atrocity, since we know him as a kind and caring member of our family,” said the parents of 30-year-old Khan, who was the oldest of the bombers.

Two of the others were teenagers and the other was 22.

Police searched additional sites in and near Leeds, where they have now raided 10 houses.

Officers in London were given more time to question a 29-year-old man arrested in the raids on suspicion of “the commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism.”

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