Saturday, August 12, 2006

Investigators focus on brothers in alleged bomb plot and Tip Followed '05 Attacks on London Transit

Two armed British police officers patrol outside of Heathrow Airport Terminal Four on August 11, 2006 in London, England. The UK security threat level is to stay at "critical" as police continue to question 24 suspects following a suspected plot to blow up several aeroplanes was uncovered.
Photograph by : Scott Barbour/Getty Images

It's really morbidly fascinating to read the updates as more facts in this foiled Heathrow terror plot come up.

As someone who loves to travel, this is just a reminder that people want to harm me simply because I exist and happen to have been born an American citizen. Again, I'm so thankful they discovered this plot and stopped it before innocent people had to suffer. Hopefully, the authorities will continue to be successful.

The first article I found was about two brothers who were arrested in Pakistan and in the UK are "lead figures" in this plot. Also, one of them is a suspect in the stabbing death of his uncle. The other is about how a tip received after the 2005 London tube bombings alerted authorities to this plot.

These two definitely aren't guys you want to invite over to dinner and introduce to the family. It does make me wonder what causes someone to get to that point where the suffering of others matters so little that you could plan something like this?

I discovered this bit of news on the CBC's website: Investigators focus on brothers in alleged bomb plot
Two brothers arrested in Pakistan and the U.K. have emerged as lead figures in the investigation of an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound jetliners, officials in Pakistan said Saturday.

In Britain, the terror threat level remained at its highest designation.

Rashid Rauf, who was arrested along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan about a week ago, has been listed as a "key person" in the investigation, authorities with Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said.

Rauf's brother, Tayib Rauf, 22, was arrested in Britain, but police have refused to comment on reports that a third brother is among the 40 people who have been detained.

British authorities have detained 23 people while Pakistani intelligence agents are questioning at least 17. Most of the suspects are reported to be British-born Muslims.

Liquid explosives

The alleged bomb plot apparently targeted as many as 10 commercial flights, using liquid explosives smuggled in hand luggage.

A senior Pakistani security official told the Associated Press that when Rashid Rauf's arrest was found out by an accomplice, he made a telephone call to a suspect in Britain and urged him to proceed with the alleged plan.

"This telephone call intercept in Karachi and the arrest of Rashid Rauf helped a lot to foil the terror plan," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the news agency.

A second unnamed intelligence official confirmed the story, adding the accomplice who made the telephone call was "inexperienced."

Authorities in Pakistan also said that as many as three suspects remained at large, including Matiur Rahman, who is believed to have ties with al-Qaeda.

Suspect in killing
Rashid Rauf, who was born in Britain, reportedly left his family home for Pakistan following the 2002 fatal stabbing of his uncle Mohammed Saeed. Rauf was reportedly a suspect in the slaying.

British authorities are not releasing much information about the Rauf brothers or their larger investigation; there were no press briefings Saturday.

The British government asked the news media not to jeopardize the investigation by publishing details of the alleged plot.

British police late Friday released one of the 24 people originally arrested. No charges have been filed against the others.
This one reminds us all that someone seems to be suspicious to call the authorities: Tip Followed '05 Attacks on London Transit
It all began with a tip: In the aftermath of the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings on London's transit system, British authorities received a call from a worried member of the Muslim community, reporting general suspicions about an acquaintance.

From that vague but vital piece of information, according to a senior European intelligence official, British authorities opened the investigation into what they said turned out to be a well-coordinated and long-planned plot to bomb multiple transatlantic flights heading toward the United States -- an assault designed to rival the scope and lethality of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings.

By late 2005, the probe had expanded to involve several hundred investigators on three continents. They kept dozens of suspects under close surveillance for months, even as some of the plotters traveled between Britain and Pakistan to raise money, find recruits and refine their scheme, according to interviews with U.S. and European counterterrorism officials. (full article on the Washington Post: here)

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