Police arrest fifth London bomb suspect29/07/2005 - 23:08:58
All the alleged July 21 suicide bombers were in custody tonight after a stunning coup by anti-terrorist police.
After eight days on the run the gang were rounded up in a series of dramatic raids.
Two of them refused to come out of a flat in west London when police swooped and, following a siege, CS gas was fired into the building.
The two were Muktar Said-Ibrahim, 27, a naturalised Briton from Eritrea who is the alleged Hackney bus bomber, and a man who gave his name as Ramzi Mohammed. He is accused of trying to blow up a train near Oval Tube station.
A third suspect Hussain Osman, 27, a naturalised British Somali, was held in Rome.
Police believe he may be the man who tried to detonate his device on a train near Shepherd’s Bush.
He has been held under a European arrest warrant and Britain will seek to extradite him.
The fourth suicide bomb suspect Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, a Somali, was arrested on Wednesday in Birmingham and is alleged to have made his attempt on a train near Warren Street.
Police also arrested a man in a second raid in west London today. He is suspected of being a possible fifth suicide bomber.
A fifth device in a rucksack had already been found dumped on open ground at nearby Little Wormwood Scrubs.
Osman is believed to have been traced to Italy through a trace on his mobile telephone after fleeing there in recent days via Paris and Milan.
He was staying with a brother in Rome who was also arrested.
Said-Ibrahim and Mohammed were captured during a raid at a block called the Peabody Buildings at Dalgarno Gardens near Wormwood Scrubs prison.
After they refused to come out police fired volleys of CS gas and dramatic footage filmed by a neighbour showed the two shirtless men emerging from a flat on to a walkway as armed officers shouted orders at them.
The film, shown on ITV News, showed both men with their hands above their heads and sptting and clearing their noses after being gassed.
Children could be seen on a lower balcony talking to an armed officer after coming out to see a police dog.
One child who was caught up in the drama, five-year-old Callum Dempster, walked up to an officer as he was trying to break a door down.
He said: “I heard a bit of shooting and a person was kicking the door.”
Explosions and shots were reported by witnesses but sources said they were the sounds of officers blowing off the door to the suspects’ flat with explosives and firing stun grenades and gas canisters.
Neighbour Nicolas Holliman said he had seen four officers with guns and rifles and a specialist firearms officer in a gas mask who were focusing on a top-floor flat and kept asking for “Mohammed” to come out.
“He was being asked to come out with his hands up, naked or in underclothes,” he said.
Another witness said one of the suspects was heard shouting “I’ve got rights”.
Witness Lisa Davis phoned Sky News and while she was talking on live television, police could be heard in the background shouting at “Mohammed” and telling him: “You must do what we say. You will be safe if you do what you are told.”
Ms Davis said: “We have got two men standing outside the flats right now. They have got their guns pointing upwards at the flat.
“‘Take your clothes off’ is what they are telling him, ‘exit the building’.
“‘Walk into the corridor and stop’ is what they are telling him right now.
“They are asking him does he understand. They keep asking him ‘Is there a reason that you shouldn’t leave the flat?’.
“They have been saying this to him for about half an hour.”
In the other west London raid at less than a mile away at Tavistock Crescent in leafy Notting Hill, dozens of officers, some wearing gas masks, swooped and cleared a wide area and cordoned off streets. Snipers were stationed behind parked cars.
Although the suspects were now in custody the head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist branch Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke remained cautious.
He said: “We must not be complacent. The threat remains and is very real.”
Armed police also arrested two women at Liverpool Street station in the City of London.
The suspects in Muslim dress were pinned to the ground just before 2pm, witnesses said.
They were arrested close to the Stansted Express ticket office and handcuffed on the ground.
Residents on the Peabody estate said they believed Ramzi Mohammed was a bus driver.
Cynthia Mitchell, 17, said: “I used to chat with them every now and again just about random stuff and one of them called Mohammed always used to say to me he’d give me a free ride if I got on his bus.
“They both seemed nice and friendly guys but I haven’t spoken to them for quite a while.”
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “They were definitely bus drivers and I think they worked locally. They were pretty friendly guys and I used to see them around a lot.”
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