Monday, April 10, 2006

London bombers 'received no direct support from Al Qaeda'

From Reuters

The London bombings last July were planned on a shoestring budget from information on the Internet and with no direct support from al Qaeda, a British newspaper on Sunday quoted a government report as saying.

The attacks on the London transport network that killed 52 people were the product of a "simple and inexpensive" plot hatched by four British suicide bombers bent on martyrdom, the Observer newspaper reported.

The four men had scoured "terror (Web) sites" on the Internet and their knapsack bombs cost only a few hundred pounds (dollars), The Observer said, citing a draft of the government's definitive report on the blasts. Some terrorism experts have in the past cast doubt on reports that bombers could learn how to make the devices from the Internet. After the July 7 attacks, police found an unused explosive rucksack in the bombers' abandoned car, leading to a manhunt for a missing suspect, but the report concludes there was no fifth bomber, the newspaper said.

The official report, due to be published in the next few weeks, also found nothing to support the theory that an al Qaeda fixer, presumed to be from Pakistan, helped plan the attacks. The report does conclude that the four suicide bombers were partly inspired by ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan's trips to Pakistan. Three of the attackers who carried out western Europe's first suicide bombing were British-born men of Pakistani origin, and the fourth was born in Jamaica.

The British government has rejected calls for a full public inquiry into the London bombings, drawing criticism from victims, politicians and pressure groups. It has argued that an independent probe could prejudice investigations into the attack.