Saudi link to London bombers investigated
LONDON/RIYADH: Security services were investigating on Sunday a Saudi link to the London bombers after a prime suspect for the failed July 21 attacks was charged with trying to murder passengers on the capital’s transport system.
Yassin Hassan Omar, a 24-year-old Somali national who came to Britain at the age of 11, was the first of the four main suspects named by police to be charged in connection with the attacks on July 21.
Exactly two weeks earlier, four British Muslim men killed themselves and 52 other people with bombs on London’s transport network. Both waves of attacks targeted three underground trains and a double-decker bus. A Saudi security source told Reuters officials in Riyadh had told British intelligence services of a series of text messages and e-mails sent to Britain by suspects in Saudi Arabia, including Moroccans Abdulkarim el-Mejjati and Younis al-Hayyari, over a period of several months earlier this year.
The source said on Sunday that information from the interrogation of suspects also revealed several references to Britain, but no proof of a link between militants in Saudi Arabia and the London attacks. “That’s what we’re still trying to find out. Either they were (linked to the bombings) or there is another network there,” he said, adding that suspects in Saudi Arabia had also sent money to Britain.
Mejjati, who the Saudis say was also linked to bombings in Casablanca and Madrid, was killed in a gunfight with Saudi security forces three months before the London bombings. Hayyari was shot dead on July 3 in Riyadh.
Security experts have said the July 7 bombers must have had support, but how much, and who and where from, remain unclear.
Investigation under way: Saudi ambassador to London Prince Turki al-Faisal said investigations were still in progress. “Confirming it now would be premature but it is under investigation by both your security forces and our security forces,” he told BBC Television. In Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told a news conference there was constant contact with British authorities. “I’m sure there is some information that may be linked to the events in England,” he said. “They have also passed information that was important to some of the incidents here.”
British newspapers seized on the story, with mixed results. The Sunday Telegraph said Mejjati and Hayyari were “senior Al Qaeda operatives” and had sent money and coded text messages to suspects in Britain. Others said police had found no direct link between the July 7 bombers and Al Qaeda or any other such organisation. reuters