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UK bomb probe focuses on chemist, Briton
Updated: 2005-07-15 09:00

Britain paid tribute Thursday to those killed in the attacks with two minutes of silence. Office workers spilled out into the streets, construction crews put down their tools and held hard hats in their hands and London's famous black cabs pulled to the side of the road.

Queen Elizabeth II stood motionless outside Buckingham Palace and a crowd, many wiping away tears and bowing their heads, filled Trafalgar Square.

A woman wears a t-shirt saying 'No Backlash - Peace is the Word' during a vigil in Trafalgar Square in central London July 14, 2005. Thousands took to the capital on Thursday to take part in a vigil to mark the July 7 London bombings that claimed at least 52 victims. REUTERS
A woman wears a t-shirt saying 'No Backlash - Peace is the Word' during a vigil in Trafalgar Square in central London July 14, 2005. Thousands took to the capital on Thursday to take part in a vigil to mark the July 7 London bombings that claimed at least 52 victims.[Reuters]
Trafalgar is about 1 1/2 miles from Tavistock Square, where Hasib Hussain, 18, allegedly set off the bomb that killed 14 people aboard the bus. That blast occurred nearly an hour after three London Underground trains blew up, and investigators don't yet know what Hussain did during that hour or when he boarded the bus.

Trying to map out Hussain's movements, police appealed for information from anyone who may have seen him in or around King's Cross station, where the four suspects parted ways. They released a closed-circuit television image showing him wearing a large camping-style backpack as he strode through a train station in Luton, outside London, about 2 1/2 hours before he allegedly blew up the No. 30 bus. He had a mustache and wore jeans, a white shirt, and a dark zip-up top or jacket.

A separate photo of his face showed him with a beard, looking straight ahead.

"Did you see this man at King's Cross?" Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch, asked in a televised appeal. "Was he alone or with others? Do you know the route he took from (King's Cross) station? Did you see him get on to a No. 30 bus?

The young men traveled together from Luton to King's Cross just before the blasts, police said.

Police officially identified two of the suicide bombers Thursday, Hussain and Shahzad Tanweer, 22, whom they say attacked a subway train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations.

Both were Britons of Pakistani ancestry, as was 30-year-old Mohammed Sidique Khan. Reports say the fourth attacker was Jamaican-born Briton Lindsey Germaine.

Jamaican Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Wilton Dyer said officials were waiting for Britain to confirm the identity of the suspect before they could help in identifying his possible origins in Jamaica. "They (British officials) say they are not in a position to identify this man, they need more forensics," Dyer told The Associated Press.

Blair said finding those who planned the attack "is the absolute focus of the current investigation." An outside mastermind may have recruited the four bombers, provided explosives, helped build the bombs or given other logistical support.

The Times of London said investigators believe a Pakistani Briton in his 30s with possible links to al-Qaida may have orchestrated the attacks. They believe he arrived in Britain last month and left just ahead of the bombings, the newspaper said.

It reported that the man, whom it did not identify, was thought to have chosen the targets. There has been speculation that the bombers intended to hit four subway trains, but that Hussain got on the bus instead because one Underground lined had been halted by mechanical problems.

The Times said detectives also want to locate el-Nashar, who was thought to have rented one of the homes police searched in Leeds in a series of raids Tuesday. Neighbors reported el-Nashar recently left Britain, saying he had a visa problem, the newspaper said.

North Carolina State University spokesman Keith Nichols said a person named el-Nashar studied there as a graduate student in chemical engineering for a semester beginning in January 2000.

Peter Kilpatrick, the head of NCSU's chemical engineering department, said he handed over all his files on el-Nashar to FBI agents Thursday.

Members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Raleigh were working on the case, said Michael Saylor, who heads the Raleigh FBI office. He referred other questions to FBI headquarters in Washington, which declined comment.

While authorities searched for the chemist and the Pakistani Briton, British police were questioning a 29-year-old man they arrested in the Leeds raids. Britain's Press Association news agency has identified him as a relative of a suspected bomber.

Two of the attackers had brushes with the police before the bombings, and one had been linked loosely to another terror plot, news reports said.

Tanweer was reportedly arrested once for shoplifting, and Hussain had been questioned for disorderly behavior.

The Independent newspaper, citing police sources, said one suspect — it did not say which — had been linked loosely to a plot to build a large bomb near London. It said police described the link as a low-level "association."

That appeared to be a reference to a ring cracked in March 2004, when eight men were arrested across southern England in an operation that led to the seizure of half a ton of ammonium nitrate, a chemical fertilizer used in many bombings.

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