Egyptian named as suicide bomber who killed Briton

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Authorities in Qatar are seeking clues about possible al-Qa'ida involvement in Saturday night's suicide-bombing of a theatre near Doha, as the Gulf state's expatriate community braced itself for further attacks against Westerners.

Authorities in Qatar are seeking clues about possible al-Qa'ida involvement in Saturday night's suicide-bombing of a theatre near Doha, as the Gulf state's expatriate community braced itself for further attacks against Westerners.

The charred body of the bomber responsible for the car-bomb attack has been identified as Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali, 38, an Egyptian computer programmer living in Doha since 1990. The explosives-packed car was detonated behind the Doha Players Theatre during a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, killing one Briton, Jonathan Adams, and injuring 12, including six Qataris and another Briton.

The Gulf Co-operation Council, an alliance of six Arab states including Qatar, said in a joint statement that the attack was a "criminal, vicious act" that ran counter to all religions and moral values.

Nobody has admitted responsibility for the attack, although al-Qa'ida is strongly suspected. The blast came on the second anniversary of the start of the invasion of Iraq, and some experts believe it was launched at the behest of Saleh al-Aoofi, al-Qa'ida's leader in the Gulf, who has urged militants to attack "crusaders" throughout the region.

Although Qatar enjoys a relatively crime-free reputation, anti-American sentiment is widespread. The country is home both to al-Jazeera Television and the forward headquarters of the US military's Central Command.

"The terrorist groups want to show they can attack any target in any state," said Mustafa Alani, a terrorism analyst at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai. "They've proved they have sleeping cells in these countries and they can activate them when they want."

Few Westerners appeared to be opting to leave Qatar. "It was a matter of time before something like this would happen here," said Rebecca, a British national who declined to give her surname. "It is somewhat concerning that this happened close to the school where my daughter is enrolled. But I'll still take my daughter back there when it reopens."

The alleged bomber's wife, contacted by the AFP news agency, said her husband was a devout Muslim and a man of integrity. She said he worked as a computer programmer at Qatar Petroleum and had been living in Doha since 1990.

An employee at Qatar Petroleum told Associated Press that police had seized the bomb suspect's computer and other work equipment.

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