Police warn of third terror bomb cell


Last updated at 16:28 01 August 2005

A third terror cell was being hunted last night after intelligence warnings that it is planning bomb attacks on London's transport system.

Anti-terror detectives fear the group has explosives and bombmaking skills and may be linked to the British-born bombers who carried out the 7 July atrocities.

It was an intelligence alert that this third cell was about to unleash a major new wave of attacks which prompted last Thursday's unprecedented security operation in London.

Some 6,000 police, many armed, patrolled locations seen as potential targets.

Investigators will meet immigration officials this week as part of a massive review of the files of hundreds of families given sanctuary in Britain in an attempt to identify members of the new cell and their support network.

U.S. intelligence agents have warned their British counterparts they believe French-speaking terrorists from North Africa are linked to the third cell.

MI5 has revealed that macabre videos of the executions of British hostages in Iraq by Al Qaeda terrorists are being used by extremists to help prepare young Britons to join terror networks.

One security source said: 'These videos desensitise the terrorists to violence. They demonise and dehumanise Western people who are regarded as infidels and legitimate targets.'

Investigators believe radical London mosques, in Finsbury Park and Brixton, may provide the key to identifying the third cell.

Firm links have already been uncovered between the mosques, the bombers responsible for the July 7 carnage and the suspects in the failed attacks of July 21.

The contacts of three notorious London clerics are also a focus of Britain's biggest-ever manhunt in the belief they may have been in contact with, or influenced, the cell currently at large.

As the search for the terror support network continued yesterday, six men and a woman were arrested in Brighton during raids under the Terrorism Act.

It brought the running total of those being held to 19 - among them all the men named as suspected would-be bombers. One, Hussain Osman, is being held in Rome from where he faces


Last night police were continuing to question three members of the 'East African' July 21 cell

Eritreaborn Muktar Saed Ibrahim, 27, and Somalians Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, and Ramzi Mohammed, 26 - at maximum security Paddington Green police station in West


They are trying to establish whether the men have any links to the third cell and whether someone else masterminded their attacks.

The fourth member of the cell, Ethiopian-born Osman, 27, is being questioned in Italy after fleeing Britain by Eurostar train under the noses of immigration officers at Waterloo.

In a series of extraordinary interviews, he has told Italian officials that the bombs were not meant to hurt anyone, merely to 'sow terror' in protest at the treatment of

Muslims in Iraq and the UK. He has insisted the men had no links with the July 7 bombers or Al Qaeda.

Osman, who was traced through his mobile phone calls, said Ibrahim motivated the group by showing them DVDs of Iraqi civilians killed by American and British forces.

Significantly, MI5 has warned that sickening videos are being used to both encourage and harden 'home-grown' terrorists in Britain.

The Daily Mail can reveal that, following a new assessment of the domestic threat, the security services have concluded that Islamic extremists are becoming increasingly bloodthirsty.

Videos of the executions of British hostages Kenneth Bigley and Margaret Hassan - which were put on the Internet shortly after their deaths last year - are said to 'buoy up' those planning to bring carnage to the streets of London.

Police believe 'preachers of hate' have devised the sick ploy as part of the indoctrination process for young fanatics.

A security source said: ''This is a matter of huge concern to MI5, because the videos continue to be readily available.'

Tony Blair has repeatedly insisted that the July 7 terror blitz in London was not connected to Britain's role in Iraq. That claim has already been contradicted by a leaked intelligence report from his own security chiefs.

The report by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre said: 'Events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK.'

In Rome, Osman's lawyer Antonietta Sonnessa said he would fight extradition and she hoped it would be possible for him to stand trial in Italy.

Italian police yesterday raided another address previously lived in by Osman's brother Ramsi, who is being questioned about destroying documents and aiding and abetting.

Up to 15 people, including Osman's two brothers, have been arrested in Italy, which has been on terror alert

following intelligence warnings that it could be the next Al Qaeda target.

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