- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2005

LONDON — Police yesterday released the names of two men suspected of taking part in the failed bombings Thursday and said a fifth device similar to others used in the botched attacks was found in a West London park.

Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized yesterday for the police killing of a Brazilian electrician mistaken for a terrorist. Britain’s police complaints commission later said the man, Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot eight times, including seven times to the head.

Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police counterterrorist branch, released new images of some of the men who tried to bomb three subway cars and a bus. He identified two of the suspects as Muktar Said Ibrahim, also known as Muktar Mohammed Said, 27, and Yasin Hassan Omar, 24.

Omar was last seen vaulting over a ticket barrier at Warren Street station and running toward the exit. Ibrahim, wearing a white baseball cap and a shirt with a palm-tree design, was caught on camera stepping off the bus in the Hackney district.

Police said they arrested two more suspects yesterday in connection with last week’s attempted attacks, bringing to five the number in custody. Two other men were arrested in London’s southern Stockwell neighborhood Friday and one was arrested Saturday in nearby Tulse Hill.

Investigators are pursuing leads that seemed to indicate a link between the incidents Thursday and the suicide bombings two weeks earlier that killed the four bombers and 52 others.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said he thought al Qaeda terrorists were involved in both attacks.

Mr. Clarke said an “initial forensic examination of the four partially detonated bombs has revealed clear similarities” with a fifth device found in West London’s Little Wormwood Scrubs park. The bomb, in a dark-colored backpack, was found Saturday and blown up Sunday.

All five of the bombs were in the same type of plastic food storage container and put into dark-colored backpacks, Mr. Clarke said. He said the food containers, manufactured in India, were sold in about 100 stores across Britain, and he appealed to shopkeepers to call police if they remembered anyone buying them.

Police reportedly were investigating whether some of the July 21 suspects may have visited the same Welsh white-water rafting center as two of the July 7 suicide bombers: Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer.

The two bombers went white-water rafting there June 4, the National Whitewater Center reported. Police have refused to comment on reports that a brochure for the rafting center was found in an explosives-laden knapsack that failed to detonate on a bus Thursday.

In making his apology, Mr. Blair also defended the police for the shooting Friday.

“Had the circumstances been different and had this turned out to be a terrorist, and they had failed to take that action, they would have been criticized the other way,” Mr. Blair said.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which has taken over the investigation into Mr. Menezes’ death, said the inquest was told he was shot eight times: seven in the head and one in the shoulder.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that Mr. Menezes’ visa had expired, suggesting this may have been why he ran from police Friday before being shot. However, Mr. Menezes’ cousin said the visa was still valid.

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