British Police Arrest Nine Men Linked to Failed Bombings
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair warned that with three of the alleged bombers still at large, there may be more possible attacks.
“There are many thousands of police officers trying to ensure the safety of Londoners,” Blair said. “It does remain possible that those at large will strike again,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “It does also remain possible that there are other cells who are capable and intent on striking again.”
The nine men arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act at two properties in the neighborhood of Tooting in south London were being held at a central London police station.
One of the four men suspected of carrying out the failed attacks July 21 was arrested earlier in the week in Birmingham in central England. Yasin Hassan Omar, a 24-year-old British citizen of Somali descent, is suspected of carrying an explosive device onto one of the London subway trains.
The attempted bombings of three London trains and a bus on July 21 may have been attempted suicide attacks. In an apparent malfunction of their bombs, the men’s backpacks only emitted small explosions, injuring one person.
The incidents came two weeks after suicide bombers killed 56 people on three subway trains and a double-decker bus. Police have not said definitively whether the two waves of attacks are connected.
Omar reportedly fought with police as they tried to arrest him after raiding the house where he was staying at 4:30 a.m. local time Wednesday. Officers used a Taser stun gun to subdue him. Omar was reportedly wearing a backpack at the time of his arrest. Police said they also found a suspicious package in the home that may be an explosive device. An estimated 50 anti-terrorism police conducted the raid after shutting down the street in front of the house.
The three other unidentified suspects were arrested later Wednesday after police raided another Birmingham house.
Omar is suspected of attempting to detonate a bomb on July 21 on a subway train near London’s Warren Street Station. After the incidents, police released a photo of Omar leaving the station.
In addition to Omar, British officials have identified Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, an Eritrean immigrant who gained British citizenship in 2004, as a suspected bomber. Police released the photos of two other suspects who remain unidentified.
After his arrest, Omar was reportedly taken to London under heavy guard for further questioning. Police also announced they had found traces of explosives in a North London apartment where Omar had lived.
Omar reportedly immigrated to Britain from Somolia when he was 11 years old. In 1992 he gained British citizenship.
On Thursday, Residents of Tooting said police arrested three Turkish men who worked and lived above a fast food restaurant. The owner of the restaurant declined to identify them.
Six other men were arrested from a property in nearby Garratt Terrace, a street opposite the Tooting Broadway subway station, reported the AP.