Bomber tried to lure city Manchester Muslims

The ringleader of the London bombers tried to recruit young Muslim men in Manchester for training in Afghanistan years before the July 7 attacks, it has been claimed.

Mohammad Siddique Khan, the former teaching assistant who led the attacks on the capital, was also linked to two British men behind a suicide attack in Israel.

A Manchester businessman claims in a BBC documentary to have been approached by the men in 2001 and asked to encourage young Muslims to travel abroad for religious training.

Kursheed Fiaz, who operates an IT firm in the city, was visited by Khan along with Hanif Asif and Omar Sharif, who were to later kill three people and injure 50 at a Tel Aviv nightclub.

The men told Mr Fiaz, who was an acquaintance of Asif’s father, they wanted to preach Islam to young members of his company.


Suspicious

Although Khan and the others were given access to members of Mr Fiaz’s family and other young people, they soon became suspicious when he suggested they travel to Afghanistan, which was then Taliban-controlled. Mr Fiaz, 46, said: “The impression we got was they were looking for gullible people. They tried to separate them from us and give them different ideas.

“The youngsters involved with my organisation were told by Khan that to learn the new ways of Islam you may be asked to go to Pakistan.

“But then places such as Afghanistan and Syria were mentioned, so the lads asked what was going on.”


He said he had “around four or five meetings” with Khan and the other men during the summer of 2001 before becoming suspicious.


Despite his misgivings, Mr Fiaz said he was shocked to discover the men had been involved terror attacks and didn’t contact police because of the time which had elapsed between the meeting.

The TV documentary Britain’s First Suicide Bombers, which will be broadcast tomorrow, also suggests Leeds-born Khan may have acted as a scout for Asif and Sharif before their attack on a busy Tel Aviv bar, Mike’s Place, in April 2003. After the 7/7 bombings, security services discovered Khan visited Israel for 24 hours just seven weeks before Sharif and Hanif carried out their attack.

Metropolitan Police said they were aware of Mr Fiaz’s statement but would not comment further on it.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Manchester Evening News, UK
July 10, 2006
www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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