Deadly Medicine: Accused Terrorists All Work in British Medical Service

All eight men accused in British terror plot were in British medical service.

ByABC News via via logo

July 3, 2007 — -- Multiple arrests in connection with the British terror plots, including Monday's capture of Mohammed Haneef in Australia, exposed a chilling new terrorist tactic -- turning doctors into bombs.

Of the eight suspects being questioned by police, all are believed to have worked for British medical services.

This disturbing development crushes the image of trust that doctors the world over represent. Many travel extensively and have access to places, drugs and chemicals most people do not.

Now many wonder how those who have sworn to heal humankind can commit mass murder.

"Al Qaeda wants to pick up individuals that are well educated that have Western social skills and the ability to blend into the civilian fabric of society because that gives an easier chance to orchestrate a mass casualty attack," said security expert Sajjan Gohal.

Professional men founded al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden was trained as an engineer, and his deputy Ayman al Zawarihi is a pediatrician.

In the British terror plot, authorities are focusing specifically on Iraqi national Dr. Bilal Abdullah. He was arrested after he and an accomplice rammed their Jeep into Glasgow airport. Some think Dr. Mohammad Asha is the mastermind behind these attacks. He and his wife were stopped and detained by police on a major highway in central England.

Experts believe that technical training, combined with fervent faith, may have led these doctors to misread the Koran, finding strict rules in it instead of spiritual guidance.

"There is a mindset among people who have a science-based, technical education at looking at Islamic scripture as manuals of dos and don'ts," said author Ed Hussain.

More than 20,000 foreign doctors have arrived in England, a country in the midst of a doctor shortage, in the past three years, according to the General Medical Council.

The National Health Service said it checks out all the doctors to make sure they're legitimate. It said it couldn't conceive it would have to make sure new physicians aren't terrorists, but it will now.

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