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British police release photo showing suspected bombers at station

LONDON—On their way to London to unleash terror and death, the suspected suicide bombers looked like students on their way to school or friends leaving on vacation.

A photograph police released on Saturday showed them walking in a loose line along a wet sidewalk, wearing jeans and athletic shoes and loose jackets. One carries what looked like a white grocery sack, as if bringing along a snack for the trip.

They also each carry a backpack. Police believe each backpack contained 10 pounds of high explosives.

The close-circuit television photo was taken as the four walked into Luton train station at 7:21:54. They're a 35-minute train ride from the King's Cross station, where they'll split up on different subway lines and a double-decker bus. They're about 88 minutes from the first three of the four explosions on July 7, which killed 55 people. The number went up on Saturday when a victim died of injuries in a hospital.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner for terrorism Peter Clarke said Saturday that the photo was being released in the hopes of generating information about the bombers.

He also said that for the first time, police can officially name the men and state they are suspected of being the bombers. The information previously had been uncovered by news reporters.

In the photo, Hasib Hussain is in front. The 19-year-old would end up on the route 30 double-decker bus. Police believe the bomb in his backpack exploded at 9:47 a.m., killing him and 13 others.

Back at his home in Leeds, his parents believed he was off for a weekend trip to London with friends. They could not reach his cell phone and worried that he might have been caught in the attack. Their call to Scotland Yard to report a missing son became central to the investigation, leading police to this single photo from 6,000 seized tapes.

Hussain's family and that of Germaine Lindsay, 19, the second in line in the photo, and Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, who's third, said they had no clue as to what the young men were doing, or even that their Muslim faith had become radical and hateful. The other man in the photo is Shehzad Tanweer, 22.

Khan's family, (he is suspected in the Edgware Road blast that killed him and six others) said they wanted to express their "deepest and heart felt sympathies to all the innocent victims and their families and friends affected by this horrific and evil act."

"We are devastated that our son may have been brainwashed into carrying out such an atrocity, since we know him as a kind and caring member of our family. We urge people with the tiniest piece of information to come forward in order to expose these terror networks which target and groom our sons to carry out such evils."

Meanwhile, the investigation continued throughout England, as well as in Egypt and Pakistan—where some of the bombers are thought to have gone for religious training.

British media reported that two to four men were being questioned in Pakistan about links to the four who appear in the photo. Officials at the New Scotland Yard said they could not confirm that development.

In Cairo, police continued to question an Egyptian biochemist, Magdy el-Nashar, 33, who is believed to have rented a home to one of the bombers, and who media reports indicate was a friend of Lindsay. Egyptian officials on Saturday said they did not believe he was connected to al-Qaida.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Labor Party members Saturday that the bombings were part of a war plan by radical Islamic terrorists.

"Senseless though any such horrible murder is, it was not without sense for its organizers," he said. "It is not a clash of civilizations—all civilized people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it."


(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

PHOTO (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): ATTACKS-LONDON

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