'Terror ringleader' is brilliant NHS doctor

Daily Mail 


Dr Mohammed Asha: Arrested on the M6

• Controlled explosion carried out at Royal Alexandra Hospital • Three more men arrested over Airport attack bringing total currently under arrest to seven
• Police search second house in Newcastle-under-Lyme
• Kurdish terror group is linked to London attacks


An Iraqi junior doctor and a brilliant neurologist working for the NHS are among the suspects being quizzed over the series of bomb attacks across Britain, it emerged today.

The news came as it emerged that an eighth person has been arrested in the terror enquiry.


Details of the suspects were revealed as police staged a controlled explosion at a hospital near Glasgow today.


The junior doctor has been named as Bilal Abdulla, who is said to have completed his medical training in Baghdad.


The suspected ringleader of the Al Qaeda car bombers is a brilliant neurologist working for the NHS.


Saudi Mohammed Asha, 26, was arrested with his 27-year-old wife, who was in traditional Muslim dress, on the M6 in Cheshire on Saturday night.

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Mohammed Asha home

Search for clues: police remove belongings from the home of neurologist Mohammed Asha, 26, in Staffordshire today. He is one of seven men being held over three car bombs


The development comes as a section of the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley was cordoned off while a bomb disposal squad was called in.

Tonight it has been revealed that a third man, aged 26, arrested in Liverpool, was also reported to be an Indian doctor who works at Halton Hospital in Cheshire.

A colleague told the Muslim News the doctor may have been detained because he was using the mobile phone and internet account of another man who has left the UK.

In her first Commons statement since her appointment on Thursday, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "Terrorism is a serious threat to us all. We must ensure our resources, capability and legislation support our common endeavour to defend the shared values of this country from terror."

Work was proceeding on a counter-terrorism Bill due later this year.

"Terrorists are criminals, whose victims come from all walks of life, communities and religions," she added.

"Terrorists attack the values that are shared by all law-abiding citizens. As a Government, as communities, as individuals, we need to ensure that the message of the terrorists is rejected.

"I very much welcome the strong messages of condemnation we have heard throughout the weekend from community leaders across the country. My aim, as Home Secretary, is to allow the British public to live their lives as they would wish, within the law."


One of the two men who drove a blazing Jeep Cherokee into the terminal building at Glasgow airport on Saturday afternoon is also thought to be a doctor. It is believed he worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, four miles away.

Reports have also said that doctors' accommodations at the hospital are being searched.


Meanwhile, links between an Islamist terror group responsible for a series of bloody bombings in Iraq and the London attacks last week have emerged today.



According to reports, British intelligence had warned the Government that Iranian Kurds could be plotting a campaign of terror to coincide with the handover of power from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown.

US sources today suggested radical Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam would have a motive for an attack on Britain, having been driven out of its northern Iraqi stronghold and into Iran after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Many of its fighters have since returned to Iraq to carry out a series of suicide and car bombings.


Police today cordoned off an area opposite the hospital where there are 80 flats reserved for doctors and nurses.


Police hunting the car bomb gang arrested two more men last night in Paisley, bringing to seven the number of people held.


The terrorist threat level remains at "critical" - the highest possible - meaning an attack is believed to be imminent. The transport network is on full alert and concrete blocks are being put in place to protect Wimbledon and other high-profile targets.


Anti-terrorist detectives swooped on five members of the gang across Britain after gathering crucial clues from phones found in the two London car bombs.


The phones were meant to trigger a blast when they were called. The bombers twice called the car outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Haymarket, and the one in Cockspur Street four times, but the bombs failed to detonate for technical reasons.


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terror arrests

Out of harm's way: Police officers hold down one of the badly-burned men outside the Glasgow arrivals hall moments after he had set himself alight


Traces on the mobile phones' calls led police to addresses in Liverpool, Staffordshire and Glasgow.


Today the suspected members of the al Qaeda terror cell, which arrived in the country a year ago, were being questioned about the plot to launch simultaneous car bomb attacks on London which would have led to the deaths of hundreds of people. Detectives were trying to establish their exact identities.


Police said the links between the London attacks and that in Glasgow, where two men tried to smash a blazing vehicle into the city's airport on Saturday afternoon, were "becoming ever clearer".

The Glasgow attacker thought to be a doctor was seen wearing a stethoscope at his rented home in the village of Houston, near Glasgow Airport, letting agent Daniel Gardiner said.


The suspected ringleader of the plot is also a doctor, a Jordanian. Neurologist Dr Mohammed Asha, 26, and his burka-wearing wife, 27, were held in a dramatic operation as they drove on the M6 in Cheshire with their two-year-old son on Saturday.


A fifth suspect - arrested at Lime Street station in Liverpool - was taken to London's Paddington Green police station to be questioned, along with Dr Asha and his wife.

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glasgow airport

Forensics officers at the scene of Saturday's terror attack with the Jeep Cherokee which caused the fire


He is believed to be linked to the two Mercedes packed with gas canisters, petrol and nails found in the West End on Friday.


After their arrest, by officers in unmarked cars who boxed them in on the northbound carriageway, police searched their home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, 12 miles away.


He had rented the property for the past 12 months but had told the owner that he planned to leave this month.


Local resident Daniel Robinson said: "It's fairly disturbing but at the same time I find it very hard to believe, having met the gentleman, that he's involved in any way in terrorism."

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glasgow airport

Saved: One of the would-be Glasgow suicide bombers is bravely hosed down with a fire extinguisher by a security guard as the Jeep Cherokee bursts into flames

Dr Asha is also believed to have links to a two-bedroom, semi-detached house in Houston, Renfrewshire, just outside Glasgow, which two Asian men had recently moved in to.

The house is being searched by police.


One woman told how she saw one of the men was washing a 4x4 outside the house in Neuk Crescent, similar to the one used in the attack at Glasgow airport.


Mya Logan, 29, an IT support technician, said: "I saw a man washing a 4x4 vehicle outside the house two weeks ago. I can't remember the colour or the make, but it was a big 4x4. I saw the car a couple of times in recent weeks.


"The last time was a Saturday morning and I was on my way to work at 8am. It seemed strange to be washing the car so early, that's what caught my eye."


Another neighbour who lives opposite the home said the two men, both under 30, were renting the property. He said they had only moved in at the end of April.


"One of the men, the older of the two, often came out of the house in the mornings wearing blue surgical scrubs, " said Ian Thomson.


"I saw him wearing a stethoscope around his neck a few times. He was obviously a doctor of some sort."

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terror arrests

Held: The couple are arrested on the M6


The 25-year-old Royal Marine added: "One thing that was odd about them was that they always drove different cars. I have seen a light coloured Mercedes standing in the drive, a silver Peugeot, as well as a silver Astra.


"They sometimes had visitors showing up at odd times. Once an Asian man in his early twenties arrived at the home in a Mercedes at 1am.


"They were not particularly friendly. One of the neighbours once knocked on their door to let them know they had accidentally left their headlights on but they weren't interested in making conversation with him."


The owner of the home said she had rented the house out through Let It, one of Scotland's largest residential letting agencies.


Myra Mills said she had been told by the letting agents that a young Asian doctor with the name Mohammed was living there.


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glasgow airport

Forensics officers at the scene of Saturday's terror attack with the Jeep Cherokee which caused the fire


In other developments:


• MI5 suspended virtually all other operations to focus on the manhunt;

• The national terror warning remained at critical, its highest level, amid fears of an imminent further attack;

• An Al Qaeda supergrass is to be asked to help identify the would-be bombers;

• There were claims in the U.S. that one of the suspects had been arrested before by British police investigating another terror plot.


She said: "When the agents said someone was interested in moving in, I asked what the person was like. He said: 'He's a young Asian man from down south. He's a doctor.'


"Of all the houses in Houston, why did they have to pick mine? It's frightening," said Mrs Mills, who lives in the nearby village of Kilmacolm.


Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad is believed to have gathered a wealth of evidence and leads from material found in the two abandoned car bombs in London on Friday.


Detectives have also gathered CCTV evidence from the West End as well as DNA evidence and other forensic details from the two Mercedes cars.



• 1.25AM Green Mercedes packed with 13 gallons of petrol, gas cylinders and nails left outside Tiger Tiger nightclub in central London's Haymarket.

• Paramedics treating a drunken reveller spot smoke in the car and call police who defuse the bomb with minutes to spare.

• 2.30AM Blue Mercedes found illegally parked on nearby Cockspur Street and is ticketed.

• 3.30AM Second Mercedes is towed to a car pound in Park Lane where employees notice a gas-like smell.

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burnt out jeep

The burnt-out Jeep before and after it is hauled away for further tests


• 1.15PM Police evacuate the pound as bomb disposal team is called to defuse a device made from two telephones linked to canisters on the back seat. 'It was pure luck neither device went off,' said a security source.

• 1.40PM Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says Britain is 'currently facing a most serious and sustained' threat.

• 3.05PM Scottish police contact a letting agency responsible for a home in Neuk Crescent, Glasgow, and ask about the tenants staying there.

• 3.15PM A blazing Jeep Cherokee crashes into the arrivals hall of Glasgow Airport. An Asian man clutching a Molotov cocktail-type device is held by police and passers-by.

• A second Asian man sets himself alight with petrol before fighting with police and security staff.

• 8PM National terror threat level raised to 'Critical' by Jacqui Smith on the advice of MI5. This means further attacks are expected 'imminently'.

• 8.40PM Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives televised address to the nation in which he urges 'vigilance'. His message to the terrorists is: 'We will not yield, we will not be intimidated and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life.'

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glasgow airport

Held: Police and security staff pin down the badly burned suspect moments after a blazing Jeep was rammed into Glasgow Aiport


• 9.30PM Police raid a house rented by a 26-year-old Jordanian-born doctor in Newcastleunder-Lyme, Staffordshire.

• 11.15PM-2AM Stand off involving at least eight armed officers who try to enter a property in Hatherley Street, Liverpool. Three men and one woman are taken away by police, but are released the next day.

• 11.30PM The Jordanian doctor and a 27-year-old woman wearing a Muslim veil are arrested on the M6 in Cheshire. Seven unmarked police cars containing more than 20 officers box his car on to the hard-shoulder.

• The couple are taken to a central London police station for questioning.

• 12.10PM Police raid an address in Ramilies Road, near Penny Lane, Liverpool.

• 1AM A 26-year-old man linked to the Ramilies Road house is arrested near Liverpool's Lime Street station.

• 4.30AM Police search a house in Neuk Crescent, Glasgow, thought to be used by the airport attackers.

• Neighbour tells how Asian men moved into the house about three months ago. In the past week one was seen washing a Jeep Cherokee.

• 2.15PM Controlled explosion is carried out on a car at the Scottish hospital where one of the airport terror attack suspects is being treated.


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terror gas cannisters

The burnt out gas cannisters used to cause the fire at Glasgow Airport on Saturday afternoon

Police at a property in Ramilies Road, Liverpool, following the arrest of a fifth person in connection with the terror attacks

• Supergrass faces a picture quiz


An Al Qaeda supergrass held in the U.S. is to be shown pictures of the terror suspects arrested in Britain in the hope that he can identify them.

Former New York taxi driver Mohammed Junaid Babar, who identified the July 7 ringleader and played a pivotal role in the jailing at the Old Bailey last month of an Al Qaeda cell plotting to blow up London nightclubs, is also likely to be asked to help identify CCTV images of fleeing would-be bombers.

U.S. officials say the image of a man seen running from the Mercedes near the Tiger Tiger club early on Friday "resembled" a suspect arrested previously in connection with the investigation into so-called Al Qaeda "General" Dhiren Barot.

He is said to have been released because of lack of evidence.

The terror hunt comes three weeks after a so-called Al Qaeda "graduation ceremony" in Pakistan is reported to have sent some 50 suicide bombers operating in teams to Britain and other Western countries.

Dhiren Barot was jailed for at least 30 years last November at the Old Bailey after being convicted of masterminding a plot to explode car bombs, like those foiled in Glasgow and London packed with gas cylinders, at targets in London and the U.S.

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The search: Police cordon off a house in Houston near Glasgow after the terrorist threat in Britain was raised to critical

Gordon Brown urged Brits to be vigilant


In his personal manual, Barot detailed how cylinders "can be as powerful as exploding TNT... are easily available to the general public" and can be designed for "synchronised execution on the same day and time".

The 34-year-old, from North-West London, also acted as an instructor at terror training camps attended by young Britons and Arab fighters in Afghanistan.

Mohammed Junaid Babar and other Islamic radicals held in the U.S. will be asked whether they knew the men now in custody in either Britain or Pakistan and trained with them. Many North African, Chechen and Arab recruits met Babar in Pakistan.

We won't give in, vows Brown


Gordon Brown vowed yesterday that the British people will not yield to terror and urged them to "carry on with their lives". But he warned that disruption would be inevitable.

The Prime Minister spent his first weekend in Downing Street meeting security officials to assess the London and Glasgow incidents.

In a clear break with the grandstanding of the Blair years, however, he ruled out a raft of new anti-terror legislation to counter the threat.

Mr Brown used an interview with the BBC's Sunday AM to tell Al Qaeda: "The message that's got to come from the British people is that as one we will not yield, we will not be intimidated.

"And we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life."

He said there would be an impact at airports, where security measures have to be increased.

There were also likely to be new crowd-control measures in areas such as the West End of London.

The Prime Minister, who has been briefed by the heads of MI5 and MI6, confirmed that the attackers in London and Glasgow are believed to have links to Al Qaeda.

The new Security Minister, Admiral Sir Alan West, and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens, who now advises Mr Brown on international security, have been involved in shaping the Government's response.

In a marked change in style and tone, Mr Brown has ordered that ministers avoid knee-jerk promises of action.

He feels that the gung-ho approach adopted in the past by former Home Secretary John Reid did little to inspire public confidence in the Government's long-term ability to tackle the threat.

Mr Brown has said he wants to reopen the debate about the detention of suspects. He is prepared to risk a fresh confrontation with Labour backbenchers, who rejected attempts by Mr Blair to extend the limit to 90 days in 2005.

But he set aside questions about raising the limit, saying: "That is not an issue for today."

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