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July 7 blasts linked to Hamza's trial

Probe shows the attacks had been timed to coincide with Abu Hamza's court hearing, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 20:22 IST
Vijay Dutt

The most significant revelation from the trial of the radical cleric Abu Hamza, is the finding of a direct link between him and the date of July 7 which four suicide bombers chose to cause carnage in tube trains and a double-decker bus.

It was also revealed that an arsenal was found inside Finsbury Park mosque over which he presided when 150 police officers raided it. The weaponry was to be used for training terrorists.

It was also found that three of the suicide bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the four bombers, Shehzad Tanweer and Jermaine Lindsay, visited Finsbury Park where Hamza taught that Muslims were obliged to kill unbelievers to defend Islam.

He said the aim of jihad was to humiliate non-believers and convert them to Islam. "Now look at the suicide bombs. Does it fulfil all these purposes? Yes, all of them."

The link between Hamza and the bombers who killed 52 people last July raises a possible new explanation for the date and timing of the attacks. On the morning of July 7 -- the date chosen by bombers to strike -- Abu Hamza was in the dock in the Old Bailey and about to stand trial.

Suicide bombers could not have known that his case was postponed for six months and thus resumed last month.

Hamza, who did not recognise an "Islamic court", refused to stand up when the decision was given, sentencing him for seven years.

But most feel that the sentencing has come a little too late. Not only the 52 lives lost on July 7 could have been saved but many other terror incidents around the world might not have taken place if he had been caught earlier. His links abroad with extremists found now raise this possibility.

Dubbed preacher of world terror, Hamza had links with Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who is in jail in the US for trying to blow up a liner while midair, and with many others in France, Belgium, Yemen, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Spain. Most of them are in jail.

In Oregon, USA, too his followers were accused of trying to set up a terror training camp.

His first wife has revealed that when she married him he was a caring and loving person and serving as a bouncer at a Soho nightclub. He later graduated in civil engineering.

Meanwhile he married a Muslim woman and later went to Saudi Arabia where he met Abdullah Azzam, the Palestinian theologian who inspired Mujahideen fighting the Soviet Army.

In mid-90s he went to Afghanistan when under the Taliban and then to Bosnia. He was on his way to become terror chief.

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 20:16 IST