Bomb may be latest in world-wide Islamic terror campaign

A letter bomb that exploded at the London offices of an Arab newspaper yesterday is believed to be part of a world wide terror campaign, possibly by Islamic fundamentalist extremists.

In New York yesterday, two floors of the United nations building were evacuated when two more letter bombs addressed to Al-Hayat, the newspaper targeted in the London attack, were discovered.

Two security guards were hurt by the London postal booby trap. Three other devices, believed to contain Semtex which were also sent to Al-Hayat, were destroyed in controlled explosions by anti-terrorist officers.

At the beginning of the year, five letter bombs, disguised as Christmas cards, were sent to Al-Hayat's Washington office in the United States, although none exploded.

The US booby traps, which are being investigated by the FBI, were sent from Alexandria in Egypt. Staff at Al-Hayat, a respected publication, said that the letters sent to the London offices also came from Alexandria. There is concern that there may be further terrorist devices still in the post.

During yesterday morning's explosion, Barry Roach, 46, from west London, suffered serious facial and abdominal injuries, and Andy McKenzie, 35, from south-west London, suffered from shock and burst ear drums, but was later released from hospital. The letter exploded in the basement post- room in the six-storey office block in Hammersmith.

Jihad Khazen, editor of Al Hayat said the attack had come without warning. He said security had been stepped up in the wake of the attacks in the US. "Since that here we have installed a scanning machine," he said. He added that the letter had tripped off a warning signal in the machine.

"It made a noise going through the machine, he carried it in his hands and it blew up," he said. "We don't know if the guard opened it or what happened. There's no danger to his life, we hope his eyes are not affected."

He added: "We would like to know which party we provoked. We have been criticising extremism in the Arab world for the last eight years.

"I hope and pray there will be no more attacks. We will not change. We will maintain our moderate position on Arab and international affairs."

Susannah Tarbush, a reporter on the newspaper, added: "We are always receiving threatening phone calls because of the nature of politics in the Arab world."

Al-Hayat, is a daily newspaper, printed in Arabic, that is owned by the Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family. It sells 165,000 copies daily, mainly in the Middle East and particularly in the Gulf states. Most of the staff are Lebanese.

The newspaper adopts a moderate line on most issues - refusing to support Islamic terrorist acts - and has angered a wide variety of militant groups with some of its comment articles. Among those known to be unhappy with the paper are the various Islamic fundamentalist groups challenging goverments all over the Arab world.

FBI officers are reported to by investigating links between the Washington devices and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre and a foiled plot to attack other New York landmarks. Four militant Muslims were jailed for life for the World Trade bombing. Alternatively the attack may be a strike against the Saudi royal family.

Suggested Topics
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Cloud Support Engineer

£25000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a team player who likes...

Recruitment Genius: Skilled Machinist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of additional skilled machini...

Recruitment Genius: Toolmaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of additional skilled toolmak...

Langley James : Head of IT; e-commerce; Blackburn; up to £55k

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Langley James : Head of IT; e-commerce; Blackburn; ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game