London's four suspected suicide bombers had wanted to to scar the city with a ``burning cross'' of blasts in its north, south, east and west, in the hope of being declared Islamic martyrs, a newspaper has claimed.
The theory came as a global manhunt began for the man suspected of being the mastermind behind the suicide bombings.
The four suspects were caught on security cameras at London's Kings Cross station, heading off in different directions shortly before the three bombs went off near Aldgate, Edgware Road and Russell Square Underground stations early last Thursday. A fourth bomb exploded on a bus nearly an hour later.
Police suspect three of the young men carried bombs east, west and south, while a fourth had planned to take the north-bound Northern Line, but, as this was disrupted, he changed plans and boarded a bus, London's Evening Standard said.
Investigators have developed the ``burning cross'' theory based on an internet statement by a shadowy group calling itself the Organisation of al-Qaeda Jihad in Europe, which claimed responsibility for the blasts, the paper said.
Now police are looking for a British-born man in his 30s, of Pakistani origin, who arrived at a British port last month and left the country again the day before the July 7 attacks, The Times newspaper reported.
Security experts say the four first suicide bombers - all British-born men of Muslim Pakistani origin, would have received training and direction from a more senior militant for the attacks that killed at least 52 people and wounded hundreds, including 10 Australians.
That raises the prospect of the bombmaker still at large and maybe that future suicide bombers have already been armed.
``Clearly there will be people behind this group and involved in this and clearly we are seeking those people,'' a police spokesman said. ``The assumption has got to be they weren't acting alone.''
Police additionally want to interview an Egyptian-born university lecturer who was teaching in Leeds until a few weeks ago.
According to The Sun newspaper, the man, who it named as 33-year-old Magdi El-Nashar, was studying for a biochemistry doctorate at Leeds University and disappeared just before the attacks, possibly to Egypt.
At least two of the bombers had links to his rented flat, which is one of six addresses in and around Leeds raided by police on Tuesday morning, the report added.
Late last night, anti-terror police spread their search to the market town of Aylesbury, about 64km north-west of London, searching one residential address but making no arrests and finding no explosives.
The bombers' background became the subject of a row between London and Paris, with Charles Clarke, the interior minister, denying comments by his French counterpart that British police had arrested some of the suspects in the past.
``It is completely and utterly untrue. I am absolutely staggered he should make that assertion,'' Clarke told Sky TV.
He later told Channel Four News, however, that the police and intelligence services were looking at any previous brushes with the law the suspects may have had.
A British police source said it was possible some of the men might have come to the attention of police in the course of normal criminal investigations.
The BBC said two of the suspected bombers had been arrested for minor offences in 2004 and released with a caution - one for disorderly conduct and one for shoplifting.
The BBC also said police were hunting a fifth man, connected to the attackers, but not one of them. The report could not be confirmed by a London police spokeswoman.
Police were granted a warrant enabling them to continue questioning until Saturday a man arrested in West Yorkshire on Tuesday in connection with the attacks.
The three men identified by neighbours as the bombing suspects were aged between 19 and 30, members of the sizeable ethnic Pakistani community around the city of Leeds in Yorkshire.
In Pakistan, an intelligence official said one of the dead men, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, had been in the Lahore area from December to February.
There he stayed at a madrassah, an Islamic religious school of the type widely seen by security agencies as breeding grounds for militancy.
The Muslim Council of Britain said it was stunned that those claiming to share its faith seemed to be behind the attacks.
``Nothing in Islam can ever justify the evil actions of the bombers,'' secretary-general Iqbal Sacranie said in a statement.
Prime Minister Tony Blair urged Britain to be tolerant amid fears of a backlash against its 1.6 million Muslims.
He said he would look urgently at new measures to tackle extremism, including boosting efforts to stop people entering the country to stir up hatred.
In Brussels, Blair was backed by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy in calling for tighter European border controls. Sarkozy also said there was a strong suspicion the explosives used in the bombings came from the Balkans or eastern Europe.
Sarkozy called for EU member states to exchange intelligence on ``radical Muslim preachers and imams whose actions disrupt public order by their support for violence, hatred and discrimination'', according to his speaking notes.
"London's four suspected suicide bombers had wanted to to scar the city with a ``burning cross'' of blasts in its north, south, east and west, in the hope of being declared Islamic martyrs ... The four suspects were caught on security cameras at London's Kings Cross station, heading off in different directions shortly before the three bombs went off near Aldgate, Edgware Road and Russell Square Underground stations early last Thursday. A fourth bomb exploded on a bus nearly an hour later."
"Police suspect three of the young men carried bombs east, west and south, while a fourth had planned to take the north-bound Northern Line, but, as this was disrupted, he changed plans and boarded a bus, London's Evening Standard said."
One Cutting Edge researcher had noted some interesting facts about the bombings as she plotted the actual bombing locations. Please now look at this map carefully, above. The circles drawn on the map represent the four locations at which the bombs went off, while the asterisks ( * ) depicts locations of interest.
1) Note that two of the bombs went off just south of the King's Cross subway station. This Australian news article, above, further states that the four bombers met King's Crossing subway station with the plans to head off in opposite directions. The bombers did get their explosions off to the east and west, but not to the north and the south, as this article states was their original plan.
Obviously, explosions would have had to be set off directly north and directly south of King's Cross for a "burning cross" to be etched on the ground. In this regard, I find it interesting that initial reports indicated that as many as six, and possibly seven, bombs had exploded. For a "burning cross" to have been created on the ground by these explosions, three more would have been ideal. Was that the plan, and were the other three bombers inhibited by chance circumstance from exploding their devices? We shall never know.
2) Notice the the British Medical Association headquarter building lies just across the street from the King's Cross explosion. As we explain in NEWS2054, this building was originally built by the Black Magick secret society, the House of Theosophy, as their headquarters. Because one of the bombs exploded very close to the location of such an occult location, fellow occultists throughout the world would have instantly recognized this location as highly symbolic.
3) Notice that just to the right (East) of the first bomb the Old Sessions House is located. This building is a major Masonic Lodge.
4) Just East of Old Sessions House lies the Tavistock Institute, home of the infamous Mind Control experiments since World War I. We explain this very important connection also in NEWS2054.
5) Notice that directly south of Bomb #1, and directly south of King's Cross station, lies the Freemason's Hall, the Grand Lodge of England. Had a bomb exploded close to this location, a southern point would have been established to create a "burning cross" on the ground. Only one more explosion would have been needed, northward of King's Cross station.