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  Bomb suspect had no terror link: Italian police

CTV.ca News | August 1, 2005

The man accused of trying to bomb the London transit system has no links to a large terrorist organizations, Italian police said Monday.

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Osman Hussain, an Ethiopian-born British citizen, was arrested in Rome on Friday in connection with the July 21 attacks on three London subways and a double-decker bus.

Carlo de Stefano, the head of Italy's anti-terrorism police, said today that Hussain seems to be part of "an impromptu group rather than part of a structured group which is operating on an international scale."

Hussain, 27, is suspected of trying to bomb the Shepherd's Bush subway station in west London. He was arrested at the Rome apartment of his brother Remzi Issac.

Isaac and another brother, Fati Issac, have also been arrested and questioned, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

Hussain reportedly left Rome in 1996 for the United Kingdom. He apparently told officials he was from Somalia in order to be naturalized as a British citizen.

Britain has asked that Hussain be extradited, something that he will likely fight, says his court-appointed lawyer, Antonietta Sonnessa.

However, Stefano said he believes "it won't be long" before Hussain is extradited. Italian officials had wanted to question him first about possible attacks in Italy.

Sonnessa said Hussain acknowledges his role in the failed attacks, but claims he only meant to scare people not kill them. He also claims the bombings were done in protest over the Iraq war.

More arrests

In addition to the three people in custody in Italy, another 18 suspects are being questioned by police in London in connection with the July 21 failed bomb attempts.

The number of arrests jumped significantly Sunday when police took seven more people into custody. Six men and one women were arrested in Brighton yesterday.

Despite the large number of people in custody, authorities in London suspect a third terror cell is planning another attack.

The Times of London cites senior police officers as saying there was specific intelligence that another wave of attacks was scheduled for last Thursday.

The third cell members are supposedly independent of the July 7 and 21 groups but have associations with some people who have been arrested in the anti-terror sweeps.

The Guardian newspaper, however, reported Monday there was no specific intelligence indicating an attack by a "third cell" was imminent.

Police believe they have arrested all the failed July 21 bombers, whose explosives only partially detonated.

The July 7 attacks on three subway stations and a double-decker bus killed 52 people. Police believe the four suicide bombers in that attack are all dead.

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