Police investigating the alleged attempts to detonate suicide bombs on London’s transport system on July 21 said last night that they had arrested two more men in connection with the attacks.
The men were taken from an address in Stockwell, south London, not far from several other homes raided last week, and from a building in Clapham, also in south London, an area not previously involved in the investigation.
The men were held on suspicion of involvement in the “commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts”, bring to 20 the total arrested in Britain since the abortive attacks.
Meanwhile a major police presence on the London transport system was evident again yesterday. Thousands of officers patrolled Underground and mainline stations in the capital for signs of potential attackers.
Scotland Yard sources suggested that reports of a third “cell” ready to strike were only speculation but until the links, if any, between the two sets of attackers are established police cannot rule out the possibility of more attempts to create terror, particularly on the London Underground.
It is hoped that interviews with the 20 people arrested in Britain since July 21 and rejuvenated inquiries into the July 7 atrocities, from which officers were diverted after July 21, will yield a pattern of associates.
Another man, alleged to be the fourth would-be bomber, is being held in Rome.
So far, police have found no more explosives or bombs, but senior officers have warned the public to remain alert to suspicious individuals or packages.
British Transport Police made it clear that its officers will be stopping and searching people with the most likely characteristics—which most have taken to mean young Asian or black men with large rucksacks or clothing inappropriate for August weather.
The BTP Chief Constable, Ian Johnston, said at the weekend that his officers would not “waste time searching old white ladies”. Hussain Osman, the suspect arrested in Italy, who is also known as Hamdi Issac, was charged with “association with the aim of international terrorism” and possessing false documents, his lawyer Maria Antonietta Sonnessa said. Scotland Yard sources made it clear that as far as they were concerned the process of seeking his extradition to Britain on a European arrest warrant continued.