M A I N   N E W S

Suspected bomber shot
One arrested, Al-Qaida-linked group owns
responsibility for UK blasts
H.S. Rao

London, July 22
The police today shot dead a suspected suicide bomber at a tube station in South London as it hunted four would-be attackers, a day after the British Capital was hit by a second wave of bombings in two weeks for which an al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility.

Just after 10 am (2.30 IST), armed officers entered Stockwell tube station and challenged the man, who was subsequently shot, a police statement said.

London Ambulance Service attended the scene and pronounced the man dead, it said.

Armed officers also surrounded a mosque in east of London following a bomb scare, but lifted the cordon about an hour later, giving all-clear.

Quoting witnesses, the BBC and Sky News reported the man who was shot dead appeared to have been of south Asian origin.

Sky News television said that the man was a “suspected suicide bomber” and that passengers had been evacuated from trains at the station.

It said armed officers opened fire on the suspect as he hurdled a ticket barrier and raced along a platform at Stockwell station, which is one stop south of Oval station — one of the three underground stops that were together with a double-decker bus were scenes of yesterday’s attacks here.

A man was arrested today during a police search in south London linked to the anti-terror investigation, the police said.

A spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police said the arrest occurred during a search of an address in the Stockwell area.

Officers attended an address in connection with the ongoing investigation into the attacks and arrested one person, the police said.

An al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for yesterday’s blasts in London. The group, Abu Hafs al Masri Brigade, in a statement posted on an Islamic website also claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings which killed 56 persons.

A passenger said he saw a man of Asian appearance being shot five times by “plain-clothes police officers” at the Stockwell tube station and that he was dead.

“I was sitting on the train reading my paper. I heard a load of noise, people saying ‘Get out, get down,” passenger Mark Whitby told BBC.

“I saw an Asian guy run onto the train hotly pursued by three plain-clothes police officers,” he said. “One of them was carrying a black handgun — it looked like an automatic — they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him.”

“I saw the gun being fired five times into the guy — he’s dead,” the passenger said.

Another passenger Alison Bowditch said: “The tube pulled into the station and we were sitting there, you know, as you do and then there was just a lot of shouting and sound of gun fire and then people were saying, ‘Get off, get off’.”

“Somebody definitely went to the ground and as they went to the ground I heard gunfire and as they went to the ground I heard gunfire and assumed they had been shot,” he told the BBC.

CAIRO: A statement posted today on an Islamic web site in the name of an al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for latest blasts targeting London’s transport system. The group, Abu Hafs-al-Masri Brigade, also claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings which killed 52 persons and four suicide bombers.

The statement’s authenticity could not be immediately verified and there has been doubt cast over the veracity of the group’s past claims.

“Our strikes in the depths of the Capital of the British infidels our only a message to other European governments that we will not relent and sit idle before the infidel soldiers will leave the land of the two rivers,” said the statement.

The “two rivers” in the statement refer to Iraq’s Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

On Tuesday, another statement was issued in the name of the same group threatening to launch “a bloody war” on the capitals of European countries that do not remove their troops from Iraq within a month.

“While we bless these strikes, our next attacks will be hellish for the enemies of God,” said the latest statement.

“We will strike in the hearts of European capitals, in Rome, in Amsterdam and in Denmark where their soldiers are still in Iraq pursuing their British and American masters,” the statement added.

The Abu Hafs-al-Masri Brigades are named after the alias given to Mohammed Atef, Osama bin Laden’s top deputy who was killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan in November 2001. — PTI, AP, AFP

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