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U.K. Police Make Eighth Arrest in Bombing Probe

Police go over the scene at Glasgow Airport after a blazing car was driven into the airport's main terminal on Saturday.
Police go over the scene at Glasgow Airport after a blazing car was driven into the airport's main terminal on Saturday.
Hear Terrorism Expert Bruce Hoffman

Armed police patrol Glasgow Airport as the U.K. terror alert remains at a critical level.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Armed police patrol Glasgow Airport as the U.K. terror alert remains at a critical level.

Police in London said an eighth person has been arrested in connection with a suspected al-Qaida plot to detonate two car bombs in London and another at the Glasgow Airport in Scotland last week.

The BBC news network reported that the eighth suspect was detained overseas. Australian officials said a foreign doctor working there had been detained in the case.


The investigation has uncovered possible links to several other countries, including Iraq, Pakistan and Jordan.

A British government security official said a loose, countrywide network appears to be behind the London and Glasgow attacks, but investigators are struggling to pin down suspects' identities.

"These are not the type of people who always carry identity documents, or who use their real identities," the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. "Very little has been gleaned so far from the biological data."

Security throughout the United Kingdom has been high since Saturday when two men crashed into Glasgow Airport's main terminal in a Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas cylinders, just one day after London police foiled two bombing attempts.

A security official said police and MI5, the internal security agency, did not know if the suspects were British born, from overseas, or some combination of the two. Officials released few other details of the investigation.


At least one of those arrested is a woman and at least two are doctors from Iraq and Jordan. Jordanian officials said they have been contacted by British authorities about one of the two suspects who have been identified as doctors. They said the man is a Palestinian who has a Jordanian passport.

One of the suspects arrested after the attack in Glasgow has been identified as an Iraqi doctor who worked at the same hospital where his accomplice is being treated for burns.

Police said one man arrested in Glasgow is Bilal Abdulla.

According to the British General Medical Council's register, a man named Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla was registered in 2004 and trained in Baghdad. Staff at Royal Alexandra Hospital confirmed one suspect, a doctor of Middle Eastern or Iraqi descent, had worked there.

A second man arrested late Saturday on a highway in central England is Mohammed Jamil Abdelqader Asha, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The medical register said Asha trained in Jordan, gaining a medical degree in 2004.

Media reports said Asha worked at North Staffordshire Hospital near the town of Newcastle-under-Lyme, where the police searched a house on Sunday. The hospital refused comment.

British officials said 19 locations have been searched.

"This continues to be a fast-moving investigation and I am grateful to the public for their perseverance and support during these difficult times," Assistant Chief Constable John Malcolm said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who replaced Tony Blair last week, said the country would not be intimidated by the plot targeting central London and Glasgow Airport.

"We will not yield, we will not be intimidated and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life," he said in a televised interview.

In the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Monday that the United States has no plans to raise the terror-alert level. "We are safe, but we are safe because we continue to pay attention, and we continue to add security measures," Chertoff said as the July 4 holiday approaches.

The U.S. terrorism alert for airports is at orange, the second highest level, and yellow, the middle stage of the alert status, for the rest of the country. Red is the highest alert level.

Chertoff said the decision was made to leave the terror alert where it is for now, "based on what we've seen so far."

On Friday, British authorities thwarted coordinated bomb attacks in central London after an ambulance crew outside a nightclub spotted smoke coming from a Mercedes that was rigged with gasoline, gas canisters and nails. A second Mercedes filled with explosives was found hours later in an impound lot, where it was towed for parking illegally.

The British police were sifting through large amounts of evidence from the vehicles and from video surveillance of both scenes.

President Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the attacks in the United Kingdom showed "the war against these extremists goes on. You never know where they may try to strike."

Security has been stepped up at airports and on mass transit systems in the United States in response to the terror plots in Britain.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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