Hundreds more armed police to join London's terror fight
Sunday 07 August 2005
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, is to recruit hundreds of extra armed officers after it emerged that the Met's armed police were suffering from fatigue after four weeks of anti-terror operations.
The move came as Whitehall officials disclosed that three militant Islamists including the founder of al-Muhajirious, Omar Bakri Mohammed, face prosecution for allegedly inciting attacks on Britain and on British troops in Iraq last week.
The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, and Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken MacDonald, are closely scrutinising their remarks in television interviews for evidence that they justified and condoned attacks on British targets.
The law officers are considering common law offences of treason, incitement to treason and solicitation to murder, as well as criminal offences of with-holding information about terrorism and soliciting people to withhold information under the 2000 and 2001 Terrorism Acts. A spokeswoman for Lord Goldsmith said: "The Attorney Goldsmith and the Director of Public Prosecutions are considering comments that have been made by individuals during the week."
Two of the men, Abu Izzaden and Abu Uzair, appeared on a BBC Newsnight programme last week and refused to condemn the suicide bombings.
Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Jordanian closely linked to several of Britain's most militant Islamist groups, suggested in one Channel Four interview that it was acceptable for Muslims to attack British and American troops in Iraq.
He also appeared to condone acts of terror in Britain by foreign Muslims, such as Iraqis, on the grounds they believed they were under attack in their home countries.
The proposed charges follow Tony Blair's disclosure on Friday that he is seeking sweeping new powers to crack-down on Islamist hardliners and al-Qa'ida supporters in Britain. After the 7 July and 21 July bombings, he said, "the rules have changed".
Sir Ian has confirmed the police expect to seize up to 20 alleged terror suspects, both foreign-born and British, if Mr Blair's proposed new powers come into force.
Meanwhile, three men appeared in court yesterday charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 with failing to disclose information about the botched London suicide bombings.
Shadi Sami Abdel Gadir, 22, and Omar Nagmeloin Almagboul, 20, both of Fairways Dyke Road, Brighton, and Mohamed Kabashi, 23, of no fixed abode, were arrested last Wednesday.
Eleven people remain in police custody as part of the investigation into the July 21 attacks - including three of the alleged bombers. The fourth suspected bomber, Hussain Osman, is facing extradition from Rome. The police expect him to be sent back by the Italians within days.
On Friday, Mr Osman's wife and sister-in-law were in court and denied allegations that they failed to disclose information about his activities.
The new armed police officers disclosed by Sir Ian are expected to be spread across all the Met's armed police units, such as diplomatic protection squad, but will be most heavily recruited for the specialist firearms unit, SO19, which has 440 members.
POLICE DRAW UP LIST OF MILITANTS WHO FACE ARREST UNDER NEW TERROR LAW
Seen as the prime candidate for deportation, Abu Qatada fled Jordan in 1993 and was convicted in absentia for inciting terrorism. He has been accused by judges of being al-Qa'ida's "spiritual leader" in Europe and branded a "truly dangerous individual". One of 14 terror suspects jailed in Belmarsh in 2002, he is now living at home under a control order.
An Egyptian, Mr al-Siri runs the Islamic Observation Centre bookshop and publishers in west London. Wanted by the US for allegedly funding terrorism, his extradition was blocked by the Home Office for lack of evidence. He has appeared alongside Bakri Mohammed and Dr al-Massari at al-Muhajiroun events. But he also sought to get the hostage Ken Bigley released in Iraq.
An Algerian Islamist terror suspect, Ramda has been held in jail for eight years as he fights deportation to France. He has been accused of plotting the Paris Metro bomb attacks in 1995, which killed eight and injured 87. Tony Blair said on Friday it was unacceptable for him still to be in the UK.
One of Britain's senior Saudi dissidents, Dr al-Masari, a physician, runs a militant "jihadi" website routinely used by al-Qa'ida linked terror groups to posts videos of suicide bombings in Iraq and Israel. The site also hosts violent anti-Western propaganda. Dr al-Masari defeated Government attempts to deport him in 1996, and runs anti-Saudi royal family opposition groups.
Omar Bakri Mohammed
One of Britain's most inflammatory clerics, the Syrian-born preacher co-founded Hizb-ut-Tahrir and its hardline offshoot al-Muhajiroun - two groups Tony Blair wants to ban. He is now linked to two further militant splinter groups, after disbanding al-Muhajiroun. It recruited young Britons to fight against coalition forces in Afghanistan.
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