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Det vekker oppsikt i Storbritannia at politiet hadde to av de sentrale 7/7-selvmordsbomberne i søkelyset ett år før de sprengte seg selv og 52 andre i lufta. Er det etterpåklokskap eller kan politiet kritiseres for dårlig arbeid?

Politiet dekket fire møter mellom den sentrale leder for kunstgjødsel-terroristene ledet av Khyam og de to 7/7-operatørene Sidique Khan og Shezhad Tanweer. I det ene tilfellet sporet de en mobiltelefon og en Honda til en eier ved navn Sidique Khan. Khans navn var allerede på en liste over navn som kunne være suspekte. Men informasjonen ble ikke koblet. Nå reagerer overlevende og pårørende til 7/7-ofrene og vil ha en offentlig granskning.

Daværende innenriksminister Charles Moore sa den gang at de identifiserte 7/7-bomberne var «clean skins», dvs. de var ukjent for politiet.

Far from being a «clean skin» Khan had been photographed, followed and bugged by intelligence officers more than a year before the July 2005 bombings that killed 52 innocent people and ranked as Britain’s worst act of mass murder.

Security sources told The Times that they had identified a «Sidique Khan» in 2004 as the owner of a mobile phone called by an alleged al-Qaeda financier and of a Honda car which was tailed from the SouthEast to Yorkshire by investigators. Despite those leads, which placed Khan firmly in the company of high priority terrorist suspects, he was not investigated further.

The disclosures fuelled demands for a public inquiry into 7/7 and raised doubts about the accuracy of assertions by John Reid in the Commons that none of the bombers’ identities was known to the security services before July 7.

I rettssaken mot de fem som mandag ble dømt til livsvarig fengsel, har ikke pressen fått lov å skrive om at de kjente 7/7-bomberne. Den informasjonen har først kommet ut nå. Ikke bare kjente de hverandre, det var et helt miljø av hovedsakelig britisk-pakistanske gutter som fikk trening i Pakistan for å drive terror på britisk jord.

Nor did the jurors know that Khan joined Khyam and other members of his bombing team at an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan in July 2003.

The two men were part of a group of young Britons who trained under and took orders from Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, the al-Qaeda leader who was transferred to Guantanamo Bay last week after being caught by American forces in Iraq.

Police believe another associate of the group tried to buy surface-to-air missiles to bring down a passenger jet. Kazi Rahman, 29, pleaded guilty last year to trying to buy terrorist weaponry and was jailed for nine years but his conviction can only be reported now.

Tilfellet med 29-åringen som forsøkte å kjøpe luftvernraketter er først blitt kjent nå.

Leder av antiterroravdelingen til Scotland Yard, Peter Clarke, sier politiet gjorde hva de kunne. Det var ikke snakke om noen feil. De hadde ikke ressurser til å fotfølge og overvåke alle Omar Khyam møtte.

Clarke sier det mest skremmende er at man nå ser rekkevidden av Al Qaida som fjernstyrer terror fra Pakistan.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Counter-Terrorism Command at Scotland Yard, said the conviction of Khyam and four of his accomplices marked a new understanding of the al-Qaeda threat to Britain.

Mr Clarke said: «The investigation showed the links that these men had with al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Most of them had attended a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in 2003, and were taught how to make explosives; some had been involved in extremism as far back as 2001. This was not a group of youthful idealists. They were trained, dedicated, ruthless terrorists who were obviously planning to carry out an attack against the British public.»

Mr Clarke said it was now known that Khan and Tanweer had met the Operation Crevice suspects but that they were judged at the time not to pose a threat to public safety.

British bombers and the lost links to 7/7

bildet: Shezad Tanweer, Omar Khyam og Sidique Khan fotografert av britisk politi under et av sine møter. Tanweer og Khan lå lavt i et halvt år etter at Omar Khyam og hans gruppe ble arrestert i mars 2004, før de gjenopptok aktiviteten og fløy til Pakistan i november samme år.