The seven men are physicians, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, while the lone woman, the wife of one, is a laboratory technician. The police are now working to unravel links and prior contacts within this far-flung expatriate medical circle.
For the British public, the prospect of highly educated professionals as terror suspects is a chilling departure from the home-grown Muslim terrorists, many with family roots in Pakistan, who have been implicated in previous conspiracies here. It may also prompt a debate over whether Britains health system should have tightened its regulations for hiring foreign doctors before last year, when it was possible for doctors to move here and practice without a work permit, provided they established their medical credentials.
Clearly, it will be debated, said Soroosh Firoozan, an Iranian-born cardiologist who practices near Oxford.
There has already been a bit of a move to exclude foreign doctors from training in the U.K. Britain remained jittery on Tuesday, with the police evacuating parts of Londons Heathrow Airport after a security scare, stranding hundreds of passengers in a rainstorm. They also carried out controlled explosions near a subway station here and outside a mosque in Glasgow.
The police arrested two more men on suspicion of terrorism after reports that canisters of gas were delivered to an industrial site in Blackburn, in northwest England. Officials would not say whether these arrests were linked to the incidents in London and Glasgow, in which gas canisters were also used.
A photo of Mohammed Asha,the “brilliant doctor,” provided
by his family during an interview on Monday in Amman
(Photo from: International Herald Tribune)
Guardian Unlimited – 1 hour ago
An Indian doctor arrested in connection with the failed bombings in London and Glasgow remained in custody in Australia today as a Scotland Yard detective flew out to question him.
Mohammed Haneef, 27, is being held under special counter-terrorism laws in the Queensland city of Brisbane. He was arrested after a tip-off from British authorities as he tried to leave the country on Monday evening.
The Australian federal police commissioner, Mick Keelty, said authorities had been granted permission by a judge to hold Dr Haneef for another 48 hours without charge and that this could be extended if there were “reasonable grounds”.
A counter-terrorism expert from the team investigating the failed bombings in Britain was en route to Australia and would arrive early on Thursday local time, he confirmed.
The Scotland Yard officer would assist in further questioning of Dr Haneef and with other aspects of the inquiry in Australia, he said.
Mr Keelty said Britain had not made any enquiries about extraditing Dr Haneef and he cautioned that the 27-year-old medic may yet be cleared of any connection to the plots. “We have had some significant time with Dr Haneef and we are hopeful that we will be able to clarify his situation in the course of the next 48 hours or so,” he said.
Meanwhile, a second doctor detained in Brisbane has been released without charge. Mohammed Asif Ali, 26, who Australian police said had been helping them with their inquiries into the botched terror plot, was freed at 11.30pm (2.30pm BST) on Tuesday. He told the Australian Seven Network that he was extremely tired and just wanted to sleep. “I’m totally unaware of anything,” he was quoted as saying. “Please leave me alone. I don’t know anything.”
According to news reports in Australia, Dr Ali is a friend of Dr Haneef and had recently returned from a holiday in India during which he got married. Colleagues said he had celebrated his wedding by dishing out Indian sweets at the hospital on the Gold Coast where both men worked.
It also emerged yesterday that Dr Haneef told colleagues on Monday that he was going home to India for 10 days, despite not having any holidays due to him. There were differing reports about the reason for his hurry to get home, with some colleagues saying he told them it was because of the birth of his daughter and others because his wife was ill.
Yard sends terror detective to Australia Telegraph.co.uk
No response from Aus on doc arrest: Indian Consul Economic Times
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John Smeaton, Glasgow terror hero
Daily Telegraph – 6 hours ago
By John Rolfe with wires MEET John Smeaton, the ordinary hero of the Glasgow Airport terror attack now being hailed around the world.
The 31-year-old British Airport Authority worker helped to wrestle a terror suspect to the ground.
His defiant, spontaneous act – and his vow that should terrorists come to Glasgow again “we’ll set about ya” – has captured the imagination of millions across the globe.
The show of support – and, more particularly, its humourous tone – suggest that many people around the world are simply laughing in the face of terror.
Tackle turns worker into Internet hero Toronto Star
I BROKE MY LEG IN FIGHT WITH T-SHIRT TERRORIST.. HERO JOHN SMEATON … Glasgow Daily Record
A baggage handler who helped to foil Saturday’s terrorist attack on Glasgow airport has become an internet star, with a tribute website set-up in his honour describing him as a Scottish hero in the mould of William Wallace.
BAA worker John Smeaton told reporters how he had helped a police officer to restrain the suspects after a burning Jeep Cherokee, which was doused in petrol and packed with gas cylinders, crashed through the window of the departures lounge on Saturday.
In a series of television interviews with the BBC, ITV and CNN broadcast around the world, and viewed thousands of times since they were posted on YouTube, Mr Smeaton described how his first thought on being confronted by the two suspects in the burning vehicle was: “What’s the score? I’ve got to get this sorted.”
As the bombers return to Britain, Hassan Butt, who was once a member of radical group Al-Muhajiroun, raising funds for extremists and calling for attacks on British citizens, explains why he was wrong
Sunday July 1, 2007
When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology, I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.
By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the ‘Blair’s bombs’ line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.
From USA TODAY:
LONDON — They had diverse backgrounds, coming from countries around the globe, but all shared youth and worked in medicine. They also had a common goal, authorities say: to bring terrorism to Britain.
The eight suspects held in the failed car bombing plot include one doctor from Iraq and two from India. There is a doctor from Lebanon and a Jordanian doctor and his medical assistant wife. Another doctor and a medical student are thought to be from the Middle East.
WHO ARE THEY?: Doctors, hospital staff, medical assistants
All employees of Britain’s National Health Service, some worked together as colleagues at hospitals in England and Scotland, and experts and officials say the evidence points to the plot being hatched after they met each other in the UK, rather than overseas.
“To think that these guys were a sleeper cell and somehow were able to plan this operation from the different places they were, and then orchestrate being hired by the NHS so they could get to the UK, then get jobs in the same area — I think that’s a planning impossibility,” said Bob Ayres, a former U.S. intelligence officer now at London’s international affairs think tank, Chatham House.
“A much more likely scenario is they were here together, they discovered that they shared some common ideology, and then they decided to act on this while here in the UK,” he said Tuesday.