News Brief – June 3, 2006
Early on Friday June 2, more than 200 British police, backed by armed support units raided a house in Forest Gate, east London, in what police described as an “anti terrorist” operation.
According to Peter Clarke, head of the UK’s anti-terrorism branch: “Because of the very specific nature of the intelligence, we planned an operation that was designed to mitigate any threat to the public either from firearms or from hazardous substances
However, the only threat to the public came from the British police themselves who shot and wounded a man during the operation. Just as they did nearly a year ago when they gunned down Jean Charles de Menezes
, an innocent Brazilian electrician who, police claimed, was mistakenly identified as a terrorist.
Although the injuries to the man wounded in Saturday's police raid are not thought to be life threatening, police declined to give details of the exact circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Apart from the man shot, one other man was arrested. The two are thought to be brothers and neither has yet been charged.
Nonetheless, police said they were dealing with an imminent terror threat.
Some newspapers, citing anonymous security sources, said police believed suspected militants had made a “dirty” chemical device – a conventional bomb surrounded by toxic material that could be set off by a suicide bomber.
“We are absolutely certain this device exists and could be used either by a suicide bomber or in a remote-controlled explosion,” one source told the Sun newspaper.
While the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted police sources as saying: “We’re 100 percent certain that an attack was being planned. If we haven’t stopped it, it could take place very soon.”
However, at the time of writing, police have yet to admit that anything was incriminating was found in the house.
A Bangladeshi family who were described by neighbours as friendly and “very religious” occupied the house police raided.
One neighbour told the BBC: "They were respectable and nice people and we do not know anything else. They have always been nice to us."
"They have lived there for a long time. The kids all go to school locally,"she said.
Meanwhile the two brothers accused of being involved in the terrorist plot have protested their innocence, according to the latest mainstream media reports
The man police wounded in the pre-dawn raid has been named as Abdul Kahar Kalam.
According to his solicitor, Kate Roxburgh, police did not issue a warning before shooting him as he stumbled onto the staircase in his pyjamas.
“He wasn’t asked to freeze, given any warning and didn’t know the people in his house were police officers until after he was shot,” she said. “He is lucky still to be alive.”
He was last night still under armed guard in the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel.
According to correspondent BBC correspondent Danny Shaw, police were now looking in "every nook and cranny". Although they have still to announce that anything linked to "terror" has been found.
Maybe that’s because there is nothing to be found and like the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes
, 27, in a London underground train last year
, the whole operation was really meant to heighten public anxiety about potential terror threats.
Not so much a “War on Terror” then but a war of terror waged by the powers that be on ordinary citizens themselves, all in the guise of fighting terrorism.