Bombing ring’s leadership murky

LONDON – At least six of the suspects in the failed London and Glasgow car bombings were foreign doctors or medical personnel working for the National Health Service, but officials still have not determined whether a foreign terrorist group sent them to Britain or if they were recruited here.

The majority of those arrested or held for questioning were known “in some form” to the intelligence community, and were tracked down through the cell phones found in the London car bombs, a security expert close to the government said. Nonetheless, investigators have not determined who led the ring.

“These people were not ‘clean skins,’” said Anthony Glees, director of Brunel University’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies in London. Yet, he added, “there is no sense of what the center of gravity of the plot was.”

A British security official agreed, adding that some of the suspects had not been questioned.

“It is much too early for anyone to decide how they got together,” said the official.

Police officials and sources have confirmed the arrests of foreign nationals from Iraq, Jordan and India in connection with the car bombs found in London early Friday and the fiery automobile attack on the Glasgow international airport on Saturday. Two other detainees reportedly are medical students from Saudi Arabia.

The suspects, apparently all in their mid- to late 20s, include:

  • Bilal Abdullah, an Iraqi doctor who worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Scotland. He has been identified as a passenger in the Jeep Cherokee that plowed into the main terminal of Glasgow Airport and burst into flames. He was detained at the airport at the time of the attack.

  • Khalid Ahmed, reported to be the driver of the SUV, who was critically burned in the fire. He is believed to be a doctor who worked and roomed with Abdullah in Paisley. His nationality is unknown, and he remains under police custody at the Royal Alexandra hospital.

  • Mohammed Jameel Asha, a Palestinian-Jordanian neurosurgeon, who was arrested along with his wife Saturday night on a highway in northern England. He worked at the North Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent.

  • Mohammed Haneef, an Indian doctor who worked at Halton Hospital in Cheshire, south of Liverpool, in 2005. He was detained in Brisbane, Australia, as he was about to board a flight with a one-way ticket.

  • Another man identified as Sabeel Ahmed, a postgraduate medical trainee from India, reportedly worked with Haneef in Cheshire and was detained in Liverpool on Saturday night.

  • Two unidentified medical students who lived in a medical residence of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, are believed to be from Saudi Arabia.

    “The phones delivered the numbers; the numbers delivered the names and the names tied in with information on security service databases,” Glees said.

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