Men provided vital support to 21/7 bombers

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The Independent Online

In July 2005, the gang behind the failed London bomb attacks were the most wanted men in Britain.

As the nation rocked from a second terrorist attack in just two weeks, police resources were stretched to the limit.

The faces of four of the men, captured on CCTV cameras as they fled, were on the front page of every newspaper.

Detectives were coping with the once unthinkable: a gang of determined and potentially armed suicide bombers were on the run in the capital.

They had a wealth of clues and forensic evidence, including identity documents, from the discarded rucksack bombs.

But as hours and then days passed without any sign of the suspects, it was clear to counter terrorist police that someone was helping them hide.

Those people were Wahbi Mohammed, Abdul Sherif, Siraj Ali, Muhedin Ali and Ismail Abdurahman.

The group were the first people to be brought to trial in the UK for assisting those behind either of the July 2005 attacks.

After his arrest Mohammed, brother of Ramzi Mohammed, told police the first he knew of his sibling's involvement was when his name appeared on the TV news.

But the Kingston Crown Court jury found he not only helped his brother in the aftermath of the attacks, but knew of the murderous plot all along.

Sherif too claimed he knew nothing of the role of his brother Hussain Osman and that he had not seen him for years after a family dispute.

The jury found their shock was simply a thinly-veiled attempt to mask their own involvement.

The two men were joined by other trusted accomplices Siraj Ali, Muhedin Ali and Abdurahman, who previously played football with some of the bombers.

The prosecution produced a range of evidence, including phone records, forensic traces and CCTV footage, to outline the defendants' alleged roles.

Phone evidence showed Sherif phoned his brother 48 hours before July 21 and sent him two text messages in the hours afterwards.

He not only phoned relatives in Italy to prepare his brother's escape, but gave him his passport.

But the jury found he did not have prior knowledge of the attacks.

Mohammed also had "extremist ideologies" and was present at Dalgarno Gardens as the bombers made final preparations.

He was tasked with taking care of the suicide video camera, Mohammed's suicide note and provided him with food and a phone when he was in hiding.

Siraj Ali's New Southgate flat was above Warren Street bomber Yassin Omar's home and the pair were once part of the same foster family.

When the attacks failed he was part of a clean-up at Curtis House in which nearly 200 bottles of incriminating hydrogen peroxide were dumped.

When officers raided his flat they found a ripped up list of bomb parts in his wastepaper bin. On it was written in Arabic: "Detonator, charge and Allah."

Abdurahman provided a safe house for Shepherd's Bush bomber Osman, as well as giving him food and clothing.

But he claimed he had not seen him for four years before and they met by "complete coincidence" at Clapham Junction station.

The court heard Muhedin Ali kept Mohammed's suicide letter at home in an open envelope in his hallway cupboard.

He was also given Osman's extremist cassette tapes, some recorded by hate preacher Sheikh Faisal, on the night before the attacks.