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    THIS NEWS ABOUT THE LONDON TERRER ATTACKS   

     

                                         

                                                UNITED WE STAND

 

JULY.10.2005

LONDON - It's a nightmare scenario that police and the public don't want to think about but can't

afford to ignore: What if the terrorists behind last week's deadly bombings strike again?

Authorities have warned that the terror cell that carried out Thursday's bombings of three crowded

 rush-hour Underground trains and a double-decker bus may be intact and capable of more strikes.

The threat raises troubling questions about whether Britain has a plan to protect its sprawling capital

from concerted attack — and whether any plan could work.

London covers about 600 square miles, presenting terrorists with a wide range of tempting and

 perhaps unprotectable targets: a vast subway system used daily by 3 million people; more than

5,000 pubs, many so crowded in the evenings that patrons spill out onto the sidewalks; and 30

 million tourists a year, often wandering the city in large groups.

"Our fear is of course of more attacks," Home Secretary Charles Clarke, the Cabinet minister

responsible for law and order, said Sunday.

"Those who carried out this terrible act may well try to carry it out again," Defense Secretary

 John Reid said, echoing that warning.

It didn't happen after al-Qaida's Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, or after

 the March 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Spain.

But authorities, warning that anything is possible, said they're working to contain the threat

by boosting police patrols, deploying more undercover officers and restricting the movements

 of known suspects. Some London hotels have been using electronic wands to search guests

 for weapons or explosives.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, are renewing a push to introduce a national system of high-tech biometric

 ID cards, including fingerprints and iris scans, that has met with resistance from civil libertarians.

The measures being taken or considered suggest Britain is following the lead of the United States,

Israel, Russia and other countries that have responded to attacks with vows to toughen security

— often with mixed success and criticism from citizens wary of greater government and police powers.

Conservative leader Michael Howard called anew Sunday for extra security measures, including

the appointment of a minister of homeland security — a step Washington took after Sept. 11.

"Obviously we must remain prepared for any eventuality. The fact that we've had these attacks

 doesn't mean we won't have more attacks," said Andy Trotter, deputy chief constable of the

British Transport Police.

"Therefore, we're taking all necessary precautions to keep London as safe as we can," he said.

 "You'll see the activities out there on the street: the high visibility policing. The undercover

 work you won't see, of course. At the same time we are appealing to Londoners to assist us

... by reporting anything suspicious."

Although authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the terrorists were British rather

than foreigners, Clarke said the government was tightening border security through a system

that subjects people to computer checks as they enter and leave Britain.

Yet there were few signs of a greater police presence on the streets of London, where the

prevailing mood was a sense that not even a lockdown would eliminate the threat of more

 attacks, and that security ultimately is more about psychological reassurance than genuine protection.

"Cities are made up of millions of soft targets. They are an impossible security problem,"

 said Steve Graham, a terrorism expert. "On 9/11, it was the air system. In Madrid, it was

the rail system. In London, it was the Tube and bus system."

Prime Minister

Tony Blair said his government was operating on the theory that "you have got, as a

government, to do everything you can to protect your people."

"But if people are actually prepared to go on to a Tube or a bus and blow up wholly innocent

 people, people just at random ... you can have all the surveillance in the world and you

 couldn't stop that happening," he added.

Even before the attacks, Blair had been tightening security laws.

In March, parliament passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which allows authorities to

place suspected terrorists under house arrest and impose travel bans without trials.

Blair, alluding to the need to balance security concerns against human rights and privacy,

conceded his government has "got to be very cautious about it." The ID card system, for

 example, would have to be "hedged around an enormous amount of restrictions on

government power," he said.

Israelis are accustomed to heavy security; Londoners are not.

Many bristle at the idea of living permanently amid tighter security, reflecting a reluctance

 rooted in the widely held belief that if they significantly change their lifestyles, the terrorists

 will have won.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents to a Sky News instant poll Sunday asking whether

they've changed their routines since Thursday's attacks said "no."

"We are determined to resume normal life as soon as possible," said Armon Hutchinson,

a doorman at a London department store, sporting a top hat and tails.

"You can't afford these people restricting our movements or doing our daily activities."

LONDON - Commuters returned to work in London on Monday, the start of the first full

week since bombers killed at least 49 people on a bus and subway trains. Many travelers

 said they would defy the attackers by using public transportation as normal, but some were too afraid and took taxis instead.

 "I ... will not let the attacks put me off," said computer consultant Paul Williams, 42,

as he prepared to board an underground train in central London. "As far as I am

concerned, it is just a normal day at work."

But Ted Wright, chairman of the British Poultry Council, said he was taking a taxi to

avoid the subway system. "In light of what has happened, I have decided to take a taxi.

It will probably cost an extra six pounds ($10.70), but should hopefully put my wife's mind at rest," he said.

Three bombs that exploded on subway cars and one that ripped apart a bus killed at

 least 49 people and injured 700 last Thursday.

Scotland Yard said Monday it had identified the first of the victims — Susan Levy, 53,

 of Hertfordshire, outside London. Forensics experts have warned that it could take

days or weeks to put names to the bodies, many of which were mangled in the blasts.

Transit officials said the number of passengers using the system Monday morning was

 back to normal. However, a few sections of the underground rail system affected by the

attacks remained closed, and the number of shoppers in central London has fallen by

 about 25 percent since the attacks, the British media reported.

For investigators, Monday was another pressure-packed day of sifting through subterranean

 debris, checking tips from the public and identifying the dead and missing.

Police said three men — all Britons — arriving at Heathrow airport were arrested early

Sunday, but immediately dismissed speculation of their having a break in the investigation.

 The three were released late Sunday night.

A man with British and Moroccan nationality mentioned as a possible suspect told The

Guardian newspaper in an interview published Monday that he had nothing to do with the blasts.

"Over 30 years I have lived in Britain, I have never been involved in violence or crime,"

 said Mohamed Guerbouzi, who was convicted in absentia in Morocco in 2003 and

sentenced to 20 years in prison in connection with the Casablanca terrorist bombings.

"I'm scared for my safety," Guerbouzi said.

Police said they were still working to recover the remaining bodies from one of the trains

 damaged in Thursday's blasts.

More than 70 feet below the surface, teams of workers — clad in white suits and wearing

face masks to protect them from the dust — dealt with sweltering heat and rats as they

removed some of the bodies from the train wreckage in the tunnel between Russell

Square and King's Cross.

It was unknown how many more bodies remained below, but searchers said conditions

were unlike any they had encountered before.

The Rev. Nicholas Wheeler of the Parish of Old St. Pancras, who has been at King's

Cross since Thursday, said Sunday that the toll on the rescue workers has been enormous.

"Obviously some are young people who have never seen horrors like this before, and

 they were emerging shell-shocked," he said.

On Sunday,

Queen Elizabeth II led commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the end of World WarII

in Europe. Thursday's attacks were not forgotten, and in speeches, officials noted a

 determination that Britain had suffered worse and would survive its latest tragedy.

A Royal Air Force Lancaster bomber older than many in the crowd released millions

of red paper poppies, which fell gently on the crowd below.

Elsewhere, people mourned the missing and the dead, but top leaders of Britain's

 Christians, Muslims and Jews urged conciliation, not revenge. They met "to proclaim

our wish to resist any form of violence and to work for reconciliation and peace,"

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor said.

Yet there were some reports of violence toward mosques around Britain, including

 arson attacks on mosques in east London, Leeds, Telford and Birkenhead which

 resulted in minor damage. There were also reports of damage at two mosques in Bristol.

Chris Fox, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said it was likely there

 were other incidents that had not been reported.

"We encourage everyone to report this type of obnoxious and dangerous behavior,

from whatever quarter, for full police investigation as we are determined that there

will be a very robust enforcement response to it," he said.

Investigators remained silent on suspects in the bombings, but reports in London

 newspapers Sunday identified a possible suspect as Mustafa Setmarian Nasar — a

Syrian suspected of being al-Qaida's operations chief in Europe and the alleged

mastermind of last year's Madrid railway bombings.

London police refused to comment, but a U.S. official said that both nations were

 trying to locate Nasar.

"He has been a longtime and well-known bad guy terrorist, and involved in terrorist

 circles," Fran Townsend,

President Bush's homeland security adviser, said on the Fox television network.

 

LONDON (AFP) - More and more people will cycle into London this week as the fear

of being caught in a terrorist attack on public transport overrides concerns of being

knocked off their bike by a car, experts say. 

Sales of bikes -- from foldaway models to multi-gear machines -- have rocketed at cycle

 shops across the capital since last Thursday when four bombs exploded on Undergound

trains and a bus, killing at least 49 people and temporarily suspending the entire network.

Millions of stranded commuters were forced to use overground stations, boats or simply

their legs to get home. Many, in their desperation, poured into bike shops to purchase

their own set of wheels to speed the journey up.

"It was just one person after another coming in out of desperation," said Grant Young,

 the owner of Condor Bikes in west London, the oldest bike shop in the city, which sold

about 50 bikes on that day compared to the normal 15.

"People have said to me, great business, but it's not really. It is nice to be able to sell bikes,

 but for another purpose," he told AFP.

As the dust settles on Britain's worst terrorist atrocity, however, a lot of Londoners remain

 fearful of the risk involved in catching an Underground train or hopping on a bus, and

 some have pulled out old bikes from the garden shed or invested in new ones to sample

a different kind of commuting.

"I think the attacks will probably make a few people think they are a bit frightened to

 go on the transport system at the moment," said Young, while adding that he doubted

 the fad for bikes would last for everyone.

"Things will go back to normal, so if there are 500 new cyclists now and 200 of them

stick to it that's great," he told AFP in between serving customers.

Evans Cycles, the biggest independent bike chain in Britain, sold four-times as many

bikes as usual at its nine outlets in central London last Thursday -- some 400 bikes --

and had another good day Friday, said director Mark Smith.

He noted that in the past people have said they feel unsafe riding a bike in the city

because of the heavy traffic.

"Now they don't feel safe on public transport so I expect over the next few weeks more

people will be trying out bikes," Smith told AFP, adding that a bike also saves commuters

 money on rail and bus tickets and keeps you fit.

Swarms of people -- some examining helmets and reflective gear, others trying out bike

models and more still purchasing specialist cycling shoes -- crowded the Onyourbike store,

another independent outlet by London Bridge.

Toufique Ali, 25, a researcher at the BBC, is among some of the prospective buyers, after

 Thursday's bomb blasts prompted him to replace his old bike, which broke about a month ago.

"I don't like public transport whatsoever and I like to be on my bike more often because you

are self-reliant," Ali told AFP.

"I was always going to get a bike, but the attacks did spur me into going to the bike shop this

particular weekend," he said.

Many others are doing the same, said Mike Blackburn, Onyourbike's floor manager, noting

 that his shop sold more than 17 bikes during Thursday's rush compared with the daily

 average of about three.

The terror factor aside, however, industry experts note that bikes have been growing in

popularity for the past few years, with the market in Britain expanding at a rate of about

20-25 percent annually.

In London, a congestion charge to drive cars plus the uncomfortable heat of the Underground

 in summer has helped to push people onto their bikes.

In addition, "most people who try it for the first time realise they can cycle to work faster than

 if they were going on a bus or a Tube," said Young.

On the down side is the obvious risk of using the roads, but cycle groups have drawn up

maps indicating the safest routes.

There is also the threat of bicycle theft.

We can't win this war the old way

·  The bombings in London make it clear that fighting terrorism with armies abroad is not the answer.

When the bombs hit my native city, I was asleep in California. Waking, I watched the wounded

emerging from those familiar London Tube stations and the wreckage of the No. 30 bus, all

mediated through American television. One commentator said, "This shows we live in a world

 at war." And every fiber in my body cried: No, that is not the lesson of London.

London knows firsthand what war is like. But this is not a war in the sense that American

commentators like to imagine it. Wars are won by armies. This one never will be. It must be fought differently.

First, we must acknowledge that there will be more of this. We're not fighting against a single

 group that can be defeated, like Hitler's Wehrmacht. Terrorism is a technique, a means to an

end, made more widely available by what we usually call "advances" in the technology of

killing, and by the ease with which people can now move cheaply within and across borders.

 It will be used, and used again. To some extent, we will have to learn to live with it, as we

 do with other chronic threats.

This is where
London is most impressive. The capital's police chiefs had already warned that

the question was "not if but when" a terrorist attack would come. Contingency plans for the

emergency services were in place, and seem to have worked reasonably well. The

 matter-of-fact phlegmatism with which Londoners met Thursday's attacks reflected long

experience, notably of 30 years of IRA bombings, as well as national temperament. "Just

 getting on with it," as Londoners do, is the best answer ordinary people can give to the terrorists.

How much freedom are we now prepared to sacrifice in the name of security? There is a

real danger that countries such as the United States and Britain will move toward a national

security state, with further curtailment of civil liberties. That must not be — for it will cost us

liberty without bringing us any guarantee of security. I, for one, would rather remain more

free, and face a marginally higher risk of being blown up by a terrorist bomb.

This does not mean being passive in response to these atrocities. But the right response does

not lie, as commentators on Fox News would have us believe, in more military firepower to

zap "the enemy" in Iraq or elsewhere. It lies in skilled policing and intelligent policy. Quietly

 refusing the melodramatic metaphor of war, officials of London's Metropolitan Police described

 the sites of the Tube and bus bombings as "crime scenes." That's right. Crimes.

Working in the most ethnically diverse city in the world, they have developed patient techniques

of community relations and intelligence-gathering, as well as evidence-gathering after the event.

 That won't stop every attack. It didn't stop this one. But skilled policing at home, not soldiering

abroad, is the way to reduce the threat from terrorists who operate and sometimes, as in the

 Madrid bombings last year, live for years in the immigrant communities of our great cities.

 If that is true of London and Madrid, it applies equally to Toronto, Paris, Sydney or Berlin.

Then there is intelligent policy. It was right to drive Al Qaeda out of
Afghanistan. By contrast,

 it becomes increasingly clear that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, almost certainly creating

 more terrorists that it eliminated. But now we have to make the best of a bad job there. The

 last thing we should do in response to this attack is to scuttle out of Iraq. On the contrary, now is

 the time for all democracies to rally round the cause of building a peaceful and halfway free

 Iraq, while insisting on further changes in occupation policy from a sobered United States, no

longer infused with the neoconservative hubris of three years ago.

A peace settlement between
Israel and Palestine would remove another great recruiting

sergeant for Islamist terrorists. And, yes, working toward the modernization, liberalization

and eventual democratization of the wider Middle East is the only certain, long-term way to

drain the swamp in which terrorist mosquitoes breed. Here, it is Europe rather than the

United States that needs to wake up, urgently, to the imperative of doing more.

These days, events that happen faraway, in
Khartoum or Kandahar, affect us directly —

 sometimes fatally — as we commute to work, sitting in the underground train between

King's Cross and Russell Square. There is no such thing as foreign policy anymore.

 That is perhaps the deepest lesson of London.

 

Feeling London's Bombs in Madrid

IN Madrid, where I live, I know more than a few young women who, ever since the March 11 bombings, are

petrified of boarding a train. I am sorry to say that they will now probably feel the same way about traveling

across town on the bus or subway - the way the victims of the attacks in London traveled through and to

King's Cross, Edgware Road, Aldgate, Russell Square

Fear, it seems, is contagious. We observe and assimilate the terrible things that happen to other people

with astonishing ease nowadays. And now that the threat of terrorism is so immediate and present, it is

all but impossible to hang onto that old feeling that used to come over us after we digested the news of

 some catastrophe: in the old days, after the first wave of shock and horror, of sympathy and compassion

 for those directly affected, we would always slide into Phase 2 of our reaction, that of relief and inevitable

 self-preservation: "At least it wasn't me. It didn't happen to me. I'm still here."

As time goes by it is becoming harder and harder to separate ourselves from these events, to separate

ourselves from the people involved, and to avoid the fact that if "it wasn't me" this time around, it was possibly

 thanks to nothing more than a bit of dumb luck. And it has also become increasingly harder not to feel that

 those who have died in a terrorist attack have unwittingly spared our lives.

The survivor's relief inevitably kicks in, of course, but it's no longer quite as second nature as it once was.

Now it comes as a third or fourth reaction, one that takes a bit longer to travel through the mind. On Thursday

 evening, while watching the news on television, I heard the story of a young Spanish woman who had been riding

 on one of the tube trains that had been bombed. She emerged from the wreckage practically unscathed, with

only some light bruises and scratches, but when everything went black just after the explosion, for a few

 moments that seemed to last forever she was not sure whether she was dead or alive - if she was "one of them"

or not. She was more inclined to think she was dead and seems to remember turning to another traveler who,

she suddenly realized, was bathed in blood. Once her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, she was able to make

out several of her fellow passengers desperately searching for their lost limbs, feet and hands, in the darkness.

We heard the same stories in Madrid not quite 16 months ago. But the Spanish girl in London concluded her

tale by saying: "I see all those images when I close my eyes. I doubt I'll sleep very much tonight."

Very much, she said. That very much was the safe haven of her very understandable feeling of relief of which I

 speak: "At least it wasn't me."

It is understandable because that rationalization is fast becoming the last resort, the final place where we can

live without feeling paralyzed by fear, without passing unjust laws that chip away at our freedoms - freedoms we

have all achieved thanks to the many sacrifices of those who came before us. But unfortunately, the trend among

 most of our politicians today is to rescind these hard-won freedoms - to make sure that nobody moves freely. In

 the middle of all these terrible events and their consequences, politicians seem to have caught on to something:

 they have realized that a national mood of paralyzing fear has its advantages.

These London tube stops where the bombs struck are very familiar for me: I have waited on their platforms en

 route to the British Museum, Madame Tussaud's, or the antiquarian bookstores on Museum Street, or whenever

I would head north by train to Edinburgh or York. Yet, I believe that in this day and age, the Western world has to

 shake off its fear, escape it, run away from it. Those who intend to kill will do what they want; it is practically

impossible for us to stop them - as impossible as it would be to stop a hurricane from crashing against a beach.

Measures may be taken, precautions invoked, but you can't stop a hurricane. And if the hurricane catches you,

then it was a stroke of bad luck, which happens to the best of us. What we cannot do, under any circumstances, is

 spend day and night locked up in the basement, waiting for the hurricane to hit.

With grit and fortitude London endured the Nazi bombings for many years. Madrid deflected the attacks of

 Franco's air force for three years during the Spanish Civil War. Our modern societies live with more

creature comforts and fear than people did back then, but we have nonetheless hung on to something from

those days, something of that old spirit of resistance and the will to live normal lives despite the chaos and

 suffering all around us.

The people of Britain, in the 1940's, refused to give up on themselves and betray their convictions, but they

also refused to cave in and doubt the intentions of everyone and everything around them. We would do well

to learn a lesson or two from them.

There is no doubt that we all live in the shadow of the terrorist threat, but the terrorists' real triumph will

come the day that we are all eternally petrified with fear and wracked with panic at the thought of taking a

 train, traveling by subway, or climbing onto one of those beloved bright red double-decker buses. These are

the images of our normal, everyday lives. The murderer will taste his victory the day that those images are

 something other than normal.

LONDON - Commuters returned to work in London on Monday, the start of the first full week

since bombers killed at least 49 people on a bus and subway trains. Many travelers said they

would defy the attackers by using public transportation as normal, but some were too afraid

and took taxis instead.

"I ... will not let the attacks put me off," said computer consultant Paul Williams, 42, as he

 prepared to board an underground train in central London. "As far as I am concerned, it is

just a normal day at work."

But Ted Wright, chairman of the British Poultry Council, said he was taking a taxi to avoid

 the subway system. "In light of what has happened, I have decided to take a taxi. It will

probably cost an extra six pounds ($10.70), but should hopefully put my wife's mind at rest," he said.

Three bombs that exploded on subway cars and one that ripped apart a bus killed at least

49 people and injured 700 last Thursday.

Scotland Yard said Monday it had identified the first of the victims — Susan Levy, 53, of

Hertfordshire, outside London. Forensics experts have warned that it could take days or

 weeks to put names to the bodies, many of which were mangled in the blasts.

Transit officials said the number of passengers using the system Monday morning was back

 to normal. However, a few sections of the underground rail system affected by the attacks

remained closed, and the number of shoppers in central London has fallen by about 25

percent since the attacks, the British media reported.

For investigators, Monday was another pressure-packed day of sifting through subterranean debris,

 checking tips from the public and identifying the dead and missing.

Police said three men — all Britons — arriving at Heathrow airport were arrested early Sunday,

but immediately dismissed speculation of their having a break in the investigation. The three

were released late Sunday night.

A man with British and Moroccan nationality mentioned as a possible suspect told The Guardian

 newspaper in an interview published Monday that he had nothing to do with the blasts.

"Over 30 years I have lived in Britain, I have never been involved in violence or crime," said

Mohamed Guerbouzi, who was convicted in absentia in Morocco in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years

 in prison in connection with the Casablanca terrorist bombings.

"I'm scared for my safety," Guerbouzi said.

Police said they were still working to recover the remaining bodies from one of the trains damaged

 in Thursday's blasts.

More than 70 feet below the surface, teams of workers — clad in white suits and wearing face

masks to protect them from the dust — dealt with sweltering heat and rats as they removed some

 of the bodies from the train wreckage in the tunnel between Russell Square and King's Cross.

It was unknown how many more bodies remained below, but searchers said conditions were unlike

any they had encountered before.

The Rev. Nicholas Wheeler of the Parish of Old St. Pancras, who has been at King's Cross since

 Thursday, said Sunday that the toll on the rescue workers has been enormous.

"Obviously some are young people who have never seen horrors like this before, and they

were emerging shell-shocked," he said.

On Sunday,

Queen Elizabeth II led commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in

Europe. Thursday's attacks were not forgotten, and in speeches, officials noted a determination

 that Britain had suffered worse and would survive its latest tragedy.

A Royal Air Force Lancaster bomber older than many in the crowd released millions of red paper

poppies, which fell gently on the crowd below.

Elsewhere, people mourned the missing and the dead, but top leaders of Britain's Christians,

Muslims and Jews urged conciliation, not revenge. They met "to proclaim our wish to resist

any form of violence and to work for reconciliation and peace," Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor said.

Yet there were some reports of violence toward mosques around Britain, including arson attacks on

 mosques in east London, Leeds, Telford and Birkenhead which resulted in minor damage. There

were also reports of damage at two mosques in Bristol.

Chris Fox, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said it was likely there were other

 incidents that had not been reported.

"We encourage everyone to report this type of obnoxious and dangerous behavior, from whatever

 quarter, for full police investigation as we are determined that there will be a very robust

enforcement response to it," he said.

Investigators remained silent on suspects in the bombings, but reports in London newspapers

Sunday identified a possible suspect as Mustafa Setmarian Nasar — a Syrian suspected of being

 al-Qaida's operations chief in Europe and the alleged mastermind of last year's Madrid railway bombings.

London police refused to comment, but a U.S. official said that both nations were trying to locate Nasar.

"He has been a longtime and well-known bad guy terrorist, and involved in terrorist circles," Fran Townsend,

President Bush's homeland security adviser, said on the Fox television networK

 

LONDON - Police believe they have identified all four suicide bombers who carried out the deadly

attacks on London subway trains and a bus last week, the city's police chief said Thursday.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair told the Foreign Press Association that police believe

 "that we know who the four people carrying the bombs were ... and we believe they are all dead."

"We are as certain as we can be that four people were killed and they were the four people carrying

 bombs," Blair said.

His comments were the first public confirmation from police that the July 7 attackers were suicide

 bombers. Bombs exploded on three subway trains and a double-decker bus, killing at least 53 people,

including the attackers.

Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch, on Thursday identified the suspected

suicide bomber who blew up the double-decker bus, killing 13 people, as Hasib Hussain, 18. Clarke also said

 Shahzad Tanweer, 22, was responsible for attacking a subway train between the Liverpool Street and

 Aldgate stations. Both are Britons of Pakistani descent.

News reports have identified the other two as Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, another Briton of Pakistani

 descent, and Lindsey Germaine, a Jamaican-born Briton.

Blair declined to comment on those reports, and he would not say how many suspects are being sought.

"We don't know if there is a fifth man, or a sixth man, a seventh man," he said, but added that police were

 trying to determine who organized the attack.

Two claims of responsibility purportedly from militant Islamic groups have surfaced.

Commenting on the possible role of al-Qaida, Blair said, "Al-Qaida is not an organization. Al-Qaida is a way

 of working ... but this has the hallmark of that approach."

"Al-Qaida clearly has the ability to provide training ... to provide expertise ... and I think that is what has

occurred here," Blair said.

The Times of London, quoting unidentified police sources, said detectives were interested in locating

Magdy el-Nashar, 33, an Egyptian-born academic who recently taught chemistry at Leeds University.

The Times said he was believed to have rented one of the homes being searched in Leeds.

A spokesman at North Carolina State University said el-Nashar studied chemical engineering there,

 beginning in January 2000.

Saad Khan, the chemical engineering department's director of graduate programs, said he

 remembered that el-Nashar applied for admission while living in Egypt. By the end of spring

 semester in 2000, el-Nashar had decided to pursue a doctorate at Leeds instead, Khan said.

In a statement Thursday, Leeds University said el-Nashar enrolled in October 2000 to do biochemical

 research, sponsored by the National Research Center in Cairo, Egypt. It said he earned a doctorate May 6.

"We understand he was seeking a postdoctorate position in the U.K.," the university said. "His visa

 was updated by the Home Office earlier this year. He has not been seen on the campus since the

beginning of July."

Neighbors said el-Nashar recently left Britain, saying he had a visa problem, The Times reported.

The Daily Telegraph said police were trying to identify a man seen standing near the four suspects

 on the Luton railway station platform, where they apparently boarded a train for London on July 7.

The Evening Standard reported that police spotted a fifth man on closed-circuit TV of the group at

London's King's Cross station about 20 minutes before the explosions.

Late Wednesday, Scotland Yard said anti-terror police had raided a residence northwest of London.

Officers carried out a forensic examination, but police would not say why they targeted the house on

 a residential street in Aylesbury, about 40 miles from London and 20 miles from Luton — where a

vehicle believed to be linked to the attacks was towed away Wednesday.

Reports said Tanweer had been arrested once for shoplifting, and Hussain was once questioned for

 disorderly behavior.

The Independent newspaper, citing police sources, said one of the four had been linked loosely to a

 plot to build a large bomb near London. It did not identify the suspect. The newspaper said police

described the link as a low-level "association."

That appeared to be a reference to a ring cracked in March 2004, when eight men were arrested

across southern England in an operation that led to the seizure of half a ton of ammonium nitrate,

 a chemical fertilizer used in many bomb attacks. Several have been charged and face trial.

 

 

LONDON - Investigators will need months to uncover the planning and financial network behind the

four young men who blew themselves up in Britain's first suicide attacks, police chiefs said on Thursday

 

Thousands of Londoners held a vigil in Trafalgar Square at the heart of the capital to promote tolerance

after the bombings on three underground trains and a bus were blamed on three British Muslims of

Pakistani origin and a Jamaican-born Briton.

Joined by others from Bali to Spain -- both targets of previous al Qaeda attacks -- Britain earlier came

 to a standstill at noon in silent tribute to the 53 people killed.

Defiantly celebrating what they called a multi-cultural, multi-faith capital, Londoners from all backgrounds

 vowed their way of life would carry on despite last week attacks.

"Those who came here to kill last Thursday had many goals, but one was that we should turn on each

other, like animals trapped in a cage, and they failed, totally and utterly," London Mayor Ken Livingstone

 told the crowd.

However, police puzzled over why one of the four attackers blew himself up 57 minutes after the other three.

 They issued his photo along with an appeal for clues from the public.

"Al Qaeda clearly has the ability to provide training, to provide briefing and to provide expertise, and that is

what occurred here and what occurred in Madrid," said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair,

 drawing parallels with last year's attacks that killed 191 in the Spanish capital.

"We have to find who planned it, where did the finances come from, where have the explosives gone?"

SUPPORT NETWORK

Anti-terrorism police chief Peter Clarke said that, beyond the identity of the attackers, police wanted to

know: "Who supported them? Who financed them? Who trained them? Who encouraged them?

"This will take many months of intensive detailed investigation."

The comments were the most explicit so far showing police believed an expert support network lay

 behind the four bombers.

Security analysts have said it is inconceivable the four -- the youngest only 18 -- could have carried out

attacks that required complex planning, careful selection of targets, access to high explosives and a

 detailed knowledge of bomb-making.

The four men were captured on security cameras just before 8:30 a.m. last Thursday at King's Cross

station, about 20 minutes before three bombs exploded simultaneously aboard subway trains heading

south, east and west.

The fourth bomb went off 57 minutes later on a bus. The reasons for the delay and the different choice

 of target remain a mystery.

Clarke released pictures of Hasib Hussain, the teenager who police believe carried the bus bomb, and

 appealed to the public for information about his final movements.

"The question I'm asking the public is: Did you see this man at King's Cross?" said Clarke.

"Was he alone or with others? Do you know the route he took from the station? Did you see him get onto

 a Number 30 bus? And if you did, where and when was that?"

Police searches were continuing in Yorkshire and at the market town of Aylesbury, 40 miles northwest

 of London.

Pakistan said it would fully assist Britain's investigation but was awaiting details of trips the suspects

had made to the country. Family members have said one of them briefly attended a religious school in Pakistan.

SILENT TRIBUTE

Earlier, millions throughout Europe paid silent tribute on Thursday to the victims of the morning rush-hour attacks.

Workers in London poured out of their offices to line the streets in memory of the dead. In Trafalgar Square,

 traffic came to a halt as thousands of people gathered in the hot sun for two minutes' quiet reflection.

"One City, One World," read a banner in the square, scene of joyous celebrations just a day before the

bombings when London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

"I just lost one of my best mates -- but two minutes ain't going to bring him back," said Declan O'Hora, 22,

contemplating the death of his childhood friend Ciaran Cassidy at King's Cross station.

Prime Minister

Tony Blair, who has said he would look urgently at new measures to tackle extremism, marked the

 silence in the garden of his Downing Street office, while Queen Elizabeth observed it at Buckingham Palace.

Tributes were also paid in Madrid and Bali -- both targeted by bombers from the Islamist al Qaeda

network in the past -- and in cities across Europe.