UK Muslim convert, 19, arrested as police explode his "bomb factory"

Daily Mail 

Police carry out second controlled explosion at 'bomb factory'as Muslim convert, 19, is held under Terror Act

Last updated at 10:39am on 19th April 2008 Bomb disposal experts have carried out another controlled explosions at a home today after police discovered more "suspect" materials.

A third is expected later today.

A teenage terror suspect was being held last night after a massive controlled explosion was carried out at his home.


The first explosion took place at 2am yesterday morning using a bomb disposal robot outside the property in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.

Residents in some houses near the cordon have now been told to evacuate their homes and stay well clear until further notice.

Two controlled explosions are now expected, say police. The first is "imminent" and the second "in the next half-hour", said a spokeswoman.

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The scene: Residents spoke of their shock after being woken by a huge explosion at around 3am. One said the Muslim man living at the house targeted was 'lovely'

Marc Cummings, 38, an electrician who lives at number 62, was among the first to leave his home.

He said: "We were told five minutes ago to evacuate and stay well clear. We don't know when we can go back in. "It's chaos - we can't go out to get a newspaper, I can't park my van, I can't do anything.

Thirty residents were evacuated from 15 surrounding homes after the two suspicious packages were found by police searching the home of Andrew Ibrahim, 19.

Officers discovered the containers in a raid on the property on Thursday afternoon. They had received intelligence less than 24 hours earlier.



Ibrahim is not believed to be on the radar of counter-terror officers and security services but he has come into contact with police before.

Detectives have refused to confirm his name or ethnicity. But neighbours said he played loud Islamic music late at night and dressed in Arabic clothing.

Douglas Tierney, 36, a Porsche quality control manager who lived next door, said: 'The flat had been empty for a year until about four weeks ago when he moved in.

"We noticed him because of the noise he made, especially late at night.

"He played Islamic music, full of wailing and chanting, similar to what you hear in a curry house.


Evacuated: Around 30 people were asked to leave their homes in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

"I went to ask him to turn it down last week and when he came downstairs to answer the door I heard ten to twelve locks being unbolted which I found very strange.

"When he opened the door he was wearing a white cloak down to the ground, a white hat and had a thin beard around his jawline. He looked dark-skinned, but not Asian. He was possibly North African.

"When I asked him to turn the music down he just said OK."

He added: "He seemed to be a complete loner. I never saw him with anyone else or speaking to other people in the street."

Mr Tierney and his fiancee, Rachel Clifford, were evacuated at 11.45pm on Thursday.

Miss Clifford said: "When we came out we saw about forty policemen swarming all over the place.

"There were police vans and what looked like an Army truck as well.

"We were absolutely shocked. It was the last thing you would expect to happen in a quiet place like this."

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Explosion: Police revealed Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command is also involved in the operation. They have refused to name the kind of materials blown up this morning

Shirley Bartlett, 65, a part time cleaner who lives 200 yards from the house, was woken up by the explosion.

She said: "It was like a big firework going off. A really big bang."

Farooq Siddique, a spokesman for the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, said Ibrahim was not known by any mosques in Bristol.

Avon and Somerset police said they were still trying to establish whether Ibrahim was working alone or with others.

He was arrested under the Terrorism Act in Bristol at 1.40pm on Thursday.

Police have secured a seven-day extension to question him.

Assistant Chief Constable Rod Hansen, who is leading the operation, said: "A 19-year- old man remains in custody at an unidentified location where he will be interviewed by specialist officers.

"We are not prepared to confirm his identity or ethnicity as part of this inquiry.

"However, we can confirm that he did not own the property and that he has previously come into contact with the police."

A team from Scotland Yard's Counter Terror Command travelled to Bristol to help with the investigation.

A detailed forensic search of Ibrahim's house is now being carried out.

The road will be cordoned off and last night it seemed unlikely that residents would be able to return to their homes until today.

The police said they were liaising with the local Muslim community.

Mr Siddique said: "The community is behind the police on this. Terrorism is something that affects everyone.

"Police are doing their job and it's a difficult job."

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