British police kill one suspect at a subway station; another is arrested
Associated Press LONDON – A stocky man appears in a “NEW YORK” sweatshirt, reawakening memories of Sept. 11. A second man is shown in a white cap and a T-shirt sporting palm trees. Two others are in dark clothes, slightly obscured by a poor camera angle.The grainy photographs that flashed on TV screens Friday put faces to the purported culprits of a failed attack on the London transit system the day before. Police appealed for help in finding the men, bringing the public into the dramatic hunt.Authorities released the closed-circuit images as snipers and bomb squads fanned out across the city. Undercover police shot and killed a man in front of stunned subway passengers and arrested another.It was another day of high tension, disruption and fear on the London Underground. The union for subway and bus drivers said workers would be justified in staying away from work if the government failed to take more precautions to make the operators safe. Newspapers printed headlines like “City of Fear,” and “Is this how we must live?””I think they’re going to strike again,” Warren West, 27, said of the bombers. “I think they’re doing to London what’s happening in Iraq.”It was unclear whether either the man police killed or the man they arrested was among the four photographed suspects, who fled three subway stations and a double-decker bus Thursday.Heavily armed officers patrolled the British capital with clear instructions to stop suicide bombers – if necessary, with a shot to the head. The armed patrols were an unusual sight in London, where most officers, or bobbies, are normally seen with little more than a whistle and truncheon.”If you are dealing with someone who might be a suicide bomber, if they remain conscious, they could trigger plastic explosives or whatever device is on them,” said Mayor Ken Livingstone. “Therefore, overwhelmingly in these circumstances, it is going to be a shoot-to-kill policy.”The shooting took place about 10 a.m., when jittery commuters spotted a man, who witnesses said appeared to be a South Asian, wearing a padded coat in the Stockwell subway station in south London. Police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him in the head and torso, an eyewitness said.Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said the shooting was “directly linked” to the investigation.”The man who was shot was under police observation because he had emerged from a house that was itself under observation because it was linked to the investigation of yesterday’s incidents,” police said in a statement. “He was then followed by surveillance officers to the station. His clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions.”Stockwell is just one stop away from the Oval subway station, site of one of Thursday’s four failed attacks exactly two weeks after the July 7 suicide bombings killed 56 people.”I’ve seen these police officers shouting, ‘Get down, get down!’, and I’ve seen this guy who appears to have a bomb belt and wires coming out,” witness Anthony Larkin told the British Broadcasting Corp.Another passenger on the train, Mark Whitby, said the man didn’t appear to be carrying anything but that his coat looked padded.”They pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him,” Whitby told the BBC. “He looked like a cornered fox. He looked petrified.”Muslims gathered for afternoon prayers, voicing renewed concerns about a backlash. One mosque was evacuated after a bomb threat.Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said he had spoken to nervous Muslims since Friday’s shooting.”I have just had one phone call saying ‘What if I was carrying a rucksack?’ he said.Police also investigated an apparent attempt to set fire to the home of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the suspected suicide bombers.More than 100 alleged revenge attacks have been reported since the July 7 suicide attacks.Police did not provide much information about the arrest late Friday in the Stockwell area of south London, other than to say it was in connection with the previous day’s attacks.Thursday’s bombs contained homemade explosives that only partly detonated, police said, adding that the attacks bore resemblance to the July 7 attacks, also on three subway trains and a bus. It was not clear if the explosives were the same.Investigators will be comparing the remains of the bombs left from this week’s attempt with the explosive residues found after the earlier attacks, said Alex Standish, editor of Jane’s Intelligence Digest.”If there’s a common thread between all of them, then the likelihood is we’re dealing with a far wider network of terrorism, possibly with a common mastermind,” Standish said. “That may mean there is a third, fourth, fifth cell.”He said it was unlikely that the two groups of bombers ever communicated, saying they were likely part of a “molecular” structure in which separate groups take orders from the same leader but are unaware of one another.The pictures of the suspected bombers captured on closed-circuit TV showed three of them at separate subway stations and the fourth on the No. 26 bus.The man with the “NEW YORK” emblazoned across the shirt was photographed running through the Oval subway station after the attacks. The garment was later found discarded about 1 1/2 miles away, in a street in Brixton, south London, police said.Another image showed a suspect with a mustache wearing a baseball cap and a gray T-shirt with palm trees on it standing on the upper level of the double-decker bus, whose top windows were blown out in Hackney Road in east London on Thursday.A third image showed a man wearing dark clothes leaving the Warren Street subway station.The suspect wanted in the Shepherd’s Bush attack was depicted at another station, Westbourne Park, wearing a dark shirt and trousers, with a baseball cap and a backpack. He was later reported to be wearing a white vest.With at least some of the suspects at large, police fanned out across London in several operations Friday, including one that drew snipers onto rooftops near a house being searched on Portnall Road in the city’s northwest.Witnesses said police screamed a name through a bullhorn, then banged on the door. When there was no answer, multiple shots were fired, according to Richard Ireland, a witness. There were no reports of injuries or arrests.A statement posted Friday on an Islamic Web site in the name of an al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attacks. The group, Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades, has also claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings – as it did in 2003 for the New York City blackout that summer, an event it clearly had nothing to do with.—Associated Press writers David Rising, Jill Lawless, Katy Daigle and Ed Johnson contributed to this report.