New details have emerged of alleged terrorist links between some of the eight suspects arrested in connection with the terror plots in London and Glasgow during the past week.
Several of the suspects were connected to radical extremists in the database of MI5, Britain's intelligence agency, before the failed car bombings. Despite these links, however, it's not clear how much MI5 actually knew about these individuals.
A senior al Qaeda figure in Iraq warned a British cleric in April of plans to target the United Kingdom, according to The Times of London. Canon Andrew White, who runs Baghdad's only Anglican parish, told the newspaper that the unnamed al Qaeda leader had boasted, "Those who cure you will kill you."
This cryptic comment appears chillingly prescient, as all eight arrested suspects have at some point worked for Britain's National Health Service. Seven are reported to be doctors or medical students, and one a former laboratory technician.
Bilal Abdulla, 27, has been identified as the passenger of the Jeep that crashed into the main terminal at Glasgow Airport and burst into flames. He was detained and arrested at the time of the attack.
Abdulla is an Iraqi doctor who worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. Although he was born in Aylesbury, England, he grew up in Baghdad and graduated from Baghdad Medical College in 2004. Doctors who went to college with Abdulla told ABC News he was a religious activist with many radical ideas that prompted classmates to keep a distance.
Shiraz Maher, a former member of a radical Islamic group, studied with Abdulla when the two were at Cambridge University in 2004.
"He supported the insurgency in Iraq. He actively cheered the deaths of British and American troops in Iraq," Maher said in an interview on BBC's "Newsnight." "He believed in the creation of an Islamic state, and in the imposition of sharia law in Iraq and eventually across the entire world."
Maher said Abdulla berated fellow Muslims for un-Islamic behavior. He told how Abdulla had showed him a beheading video and warned that was what happened to people who were not devout. He also said Abdulla was a fervent admirer of al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Co-workers from Royal Alexandra Hospital described Abdulla as a slacker who often called in sick and recently spent a lot of time surfing Islamic or Arabic Web sites while on duty, The Evening Standard reported.
Khafil Ahmed, 26, is alleged to have been the driver of the Jeep. Like Abdulla, he reportedly worked as a doctor at Royal Alexandra Hospital, where he is now being treated for the burns he sustained in the attack. He remains in critical condition and under armed guard.
British authorities believe that Khafil Ahmed and Sabeel Ahmed are possibly related.
Mohammed Asha, 26, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian descent, was arrested on the M6 highway near Sandbach in northwest England. Asha studied medicine in Jordan and graduated at the top of his class from Jordan University's medical school in 2004. He won a scholarship to study neurology at Birmingham University and moved to England with his wife in 2005. After one year of training, he took up employment at the North Staffordshire Hospital.
Although family in Jordan described Asha as not particularly religious or political, one friend told the Daily Mirror he noticed Asha had changed after moving to Britain.
"I saw him in the summer of 2006 on a visit to Jordan," said the friend, who asked not to be named. "He seemed really influenced by Islamist ideologies in Britain. Even physically he looked different with a long beard."
Some counterterrorism investigators suspect Asha is the ringleader of the terror cell and the mastermind behind the attacks.
Marwa Dana Asha
Marwa Dana Asha, 27, from the Palestinian territories, was arrested with her husband, Mohammed, on the M6 motorway. Asha also excelled as a student and studied at the elite Jubilee School in Amman, Jordan, where she met Mohammed, her high school sweetheart. In England, she is believed to have worked at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as a laboratory technician.
Her father, Younis Dana, called her arrest a mistake. He described her as an educated woman who would never be involved in extremist activity.
"She has always been religious but tolerant," Dana told the Daily Telegraph. "She wears the hijab but is open-minded and does not mind people who dress in a different way."
Sabeel Ahmed, 26, was arrested by police under the Counter Terrorism Act as he drove through central Liverpool Saturday evening. He studied medicine in Bangalore, India. In England, he worked as a locum (temporary position) at Warrington and Halton hospitals, both part of the North Cheshire NHS trust.
His mother, Zakia Ahmed, told The Associated Press that he and Mohammed Haneef were related, but she did not give details. She also said they both attended medical school together.
Mohammed Haneef, a 27-year-old Indian national, was arrested at Brisbane International Airport in Australia while trying to board a flight for India with a one-way ticket. He was arrested in connection with a phone call to a suspect in the United Kingdom.
Haneef studied medicine at Rajiv Gandhi Health University in Bangalore from 1997-2002, university registrar S. Sachhidanand told The Times of India.
He had been working as a junior doctor at the Gold Coast Hospital in Southport, Queensland, since September. Haneef previously worked at Liverpool's Halton Hospital in northwest England, where Sabeel Ahmed had also been employed.
Two Unidentified Males
Two unidentified males, ages 28 and 25, were arrested at a medical residence at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. There are unconfirmed reports that they are medical students or doctors. They are believed to be from Saudi Arabia.