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UK terror plot: Iraqi doctor Bilal charged

Iraq's Bilal Abdulla has been charged with conspiracy, write HT Correspondents.The terror trail...
Hindustan Times | By Vijay Dutt and BR Srikanth, London/bangalore
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2007 01:49 AM IST

British police for the first time on Saturday pressed formal charges against one of the eight people detained following the failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow last week.

Dr Bilal Abdulla from Iraq, believed to be one of the occupants of the burning Cherokee jeep, which tried to ram into the Glasgow airport terminal on June 30, was charged with conspiracy and remanded in custody till July 27.

The other alleged occupant of the jeep, Kafeel Ahmed from Bangalore, who suffered 90 per cent burns, was also shifted on Saturday from the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Glasgow to a special burns unit in the Royal Infirmary. His condition remained critical.

The second anniversary of the London bombings of July 2005 that claimed 56 lives, including those of the four suicide bombers, was marked by a solemn ceremony addressed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Even as he was speaking, the alleged perpetrator of the latest bombing attempt, Bilal Abdulla was being produced before the Westminster Magistrates Court, charged under the United Kingdom’s Explosive Substances Act, with “unlawfully and maliciously conspiring with others to cause explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property”.

Abdulla, wearing a white sweatshirt and black trousers, spoke in court only to confirm his name and date of birth. No bail application was made.

Six others are being held, apart from Abdulla and Kafeel Ahmed, including Sabeel Ahmed, Kafeel’s brother. Five of them are detained in London and the sixth in Brisbane, Australia.

Susan Hemming, head of the UK police's Counter Terrorism Division said: “The others —apart from Abdulla — arrested by the police in connection with the bomb attacks remain in custody pending a decision.”

The police and intelligence agencies investigating the case in Bangalore on Saturday searched the Ahmed brothers ancestral home at Nagana Halli, a village near the temple town of Belur in Hassan district, for documents.

They also met more members of the Ahmed's extended family, their friends and classmates.

“We spoke to their cousins, relatives and others. We wanted to know the family's entire history, when they were in Jordan and Iraq, and when they returned to Bangalore,” a top police officer said.

In Brisbane, the interrogation of detained Dr Mohammed Haneef continued, with no fresh revelations being made. The police are still sifting through 31,000 documents found in the laptops it has seized.

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