Airport terrorist in flaming Jeep was born in UK

ONE of the men who drove the blazing Jeep into Glasgow Airport was born in Britain, it emerged today.

Dr Bilal Abdulla, 27, who was arrested at the scene of the attack on Saturday, was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where his father was also a doctor.

Until now, it had been believed none of the eight suspects arrested in connection with the failed attacks in Glasgow and London at the weekend was British-born or had British nationality.

Police also raided an address today in Cambridge, where Dr Abdulla used to live. Hicham Kwieder, secretary of the Cambridge Muslim Welfare Society said he had often spoken to him after Friday prayers. "He seemed to me to be a genuine man, he looked fine and was often smiling. He was an Iraqi and spoke to me about Baghdad, his home city, and the problems his family faced as Sunnis.

"Although my conversations with him were always brief, he did tell me he was very unhappy about the situation in Iraq, where he felt his people were being dominated by the Shia people."

Dr Abdulla, who worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, and the other man in the Jeep, fellow doctor Khalid Ahmed, critically ill with burns after the attack, are believed by police to have been responsible for leaving car bombs in London two days earlier.

They are said to have driven the two Mercedes saloons from Glasgow and left them packed with gas cylinders and primed to explode in the heart of the West End.

They then travelled back separately by public transport before carrying out the airport attack.

It has also emerged that Dr Abdulla visited Glasgow Airport at least once by taxi before Saturday in what may have been a "dry run".

Some of the suspects arrested in connection with the terror plots were known to MI5 before the attacks took place. Whitehall sources said the security service had established "linkages" with a number of the suspects although it was not clear how much was known about them.

The sources said MI5 had been able to pass on valuable information to the police which had helped speed up their operation.

All eight people arrested in connection with the attacks have links to the NHS. As well as the two men in the Jeep, police arrested Dr Mohammed Asha and his wife Marwa Daana, a laboratory researcher, on the M6 in Cheshire on Saturday; another unnamed doctor was arrested in Liverpool overnight on Saturday; two medical students were arrested at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley on Monday; and Dr Mohammed Haneef was detained by at Brisbane airport on Monday.

And it emerged today that an al-Qaida leader in Iraq boasted his group was planning to attack British targets, warning: "Those who cure you will kill you."

Canon Andrew White, a senior Anglican cleric working in Baghdad, said he had met the al-Qaida figure on the fringes of a meeting about religious reconciliation held in Amman, capital of Jordan.

Canon White passed on the warning to a senior official at the Foreign Office in mid-April.

As the fast-moving investigation continued, the three terror suspects arrested in Scotland, Dr Abdulla and the two medical students, were transferred to Paddington Green police station in London.

Government security experts were today reviewing the official estimate of the terrorist threat to the UK with a view to reducing it from "critical" to "severe."

• Police questioning two Asian men arrested after they took delivery of propane gas canisters at an industrial unit in Blackburn, Lancashire, have ruled out any terrorist links. They now believe the premises were being used to cultivate cannabis.

Back to the top of the page