UK terror suspect Bilal Abdullah charged with conspiracy

By Prasun Sonwalkar, IANS

London : Bilal Abdullah, the Iraqi diabetes specialist doctor who was one of the two men arrested following the car bomb attack at Glasgow airport, has been charged with conspiracy to cause explosions.

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Abdullah is the first of the eight arrested for the attempted car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow to be charged. Others are being questioned in Britain and Australia. Abdullah and Indian national Kafeel Ahmed were the two occupants of the blazing jeep that rammed into the Glasgow airport last week.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Abdullah was being charged under the 1883 Explosive Substances Act. It carries a maximum sentence of life. The suspect is due to appear before Westminster magistrates Saturday.

The charge, which covers a period from Jan 1 to July 1 this year, alleges that he "unlawfully and maliciously conspired with others to cause explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the United Kingdom".

Susan Hemming, head of the CPS Counter Terrorism Division, said: "I have now made the decision that there is sufficient evidence and authorised the charging of Bilal Abdullah with conspiracy to cause explosions following incidents in London and Glasgow on 29 June 2007 and 30 June 2007.

"Other individuals arrested by the police in connection with the bomb attacks remain in custody pending a charging decision."

On Saturday, the BBC showed dramatic footage of the burning jeep crashing into the Glasgow airport terminal building. Passengers are heard expressing their shock as police drag Kafeel Ahmed, his clothes burnt off and hair scorched, away from the wrecked Jeep.

The footage was shot by a Hungarian bystander, and the BBC obtained it from a Hungarian television station.

Kafeel Ahmed, who suffered 90 percent burns in the car blaze, was Friday transferred to a specialist burns unit. New details emerged of his student days in the Queen's University of Belfast, from where he completed a Masters in aeronautical engineering in 2003.

The Northern Ireland police are investigating Kafeel Ahmed's time in Belfast, where he spent three years as a student. Jamal Iweida of the Belfast Islamic Centre told the media that he knew Kafeel Ahmed and was shocked at what had happened.

He said: "I knew Kafeel for about two years while he was staying in Belfast as a postgraduate student at Queen's University. My memories of Kafeel are of a very pleasant and calm person, a very intellectual person, very friendly and sociable in fact."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the police and the security service had made rapid progress. "From what I know, we are getting to the bottom of this cell that has been responsible for what is happening.

"Now of course it's got to go to court, police have got to continue their investigation, but I want people to know that we have acted very quickly, the authorities have acted very quickly, to deal with potential future incidents."

Brown said holidaymakers should expect a summer of delays at airports. He added: "It's going to be very difficult for people. The security has got to be more intense. We have got to avoid the possibility, and it's very difficult, that people can use these crowded places for explosions."