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7 More Arrested in London Attacks

From Associated Press

Police investigating the failed July 21 transit bombings arrested seven more people Sunday in southern England.

Police took six men and one woman into custody during a search of two buildings in Brighton, said a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman, who requested anonymity because her agency did not allow her to give her name. She said police believed there were others at large who were involved in the more recent attacks, in which four bombs failed to explode fully, and in the July 7 transit bombings that killed 52 people.

Authorities say the July 7 attackers are believed to be dead. Police have four suspects in custody who they believe detonated the explosives July 21.

In Italy, authorities were pursuing contacts linked to Hussain Osman, 27, who was arrested in Rome on Friday. Osman is suspected of trying to bomb the Shepherd’s Bush subway station in West London in the more recent attacks.

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Police have discovered that Osman called Saudi Arabia hours before his arrest, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported, and London’s Sunday Times said another bombing suspect -- Ethiopian-born Briton Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27 -- took a monthlong trip to Saudi Arabia in 2003.

Britain was facing questions about how Osman, also known as Hamdi Isaac, slipped out of the country during a massive manhunt. Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said Osman left by train from London’s Waterloo Station on Tuesday.

Britain’s Home Office said immigration officials generally do not check the passports of people leaving the country. However, police had asked that checks be made at many departure points after the attacks, including Waterloo, a Home Office spokesman said.

Osman was arrested at the apartment of his brother, Remzi Isaac, who also was detained.

On Sunday, Italian police detained a second brother of Osman, Fati Isaac, for questioning, the Italian news agency Ansa said. Fati Isaac was accused of destroying or hiding documents sought by investigators, Ansa said.

Britain has requested Osman’s extradition, which his court-appointed lawyer, Antonietta Sonnessa, said he is likely to fight.

She said Osman had acknowledged his involvement in the attack but said the bombs were not intended to cause death or injury but only to draw attention.

Osman has reportedly said that he and the other bombers were driven by anger about the Iraq war and other jihadist causes.

“He has justified his actions as a form of protest against the fact that civilians are suffering in wars at the present time,” Sonnessa told Britain’s ITV News. “He is not at all a violent person and made sure he would not cause any damage, injuries or deaths.”

Osman also told investigators his cell of attackers was not linked to either Al Qaeda or those who carried out the July 7 attacks, Italian news reports said.

“There wasn’t a very clearly defined plan. The whole thing was set the day before, in a meeting with this group of friends,” Sonnessa said.


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