Breaking: First arrests made in 7/7 London bombings

Hot damn.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks in London on July 7, 2005.

Two men, aged 23 and 30, were arrested at Manchester Airport as they were about to catch a flight to Pakistan.

A third man, aged 26, was arrested at a house in Leeds shortly afterwards…

Searches are being carried out at five houses in the Leeds area and at a flat and a separate business premises in east London…

Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: “I think these are the first arrests in connection with 7/7. There may have been one early on, but police have always said this was a painstaking, ongoing investigation.”

I’ve got more to say but I need to check something in our archives first. Standby for updates. While you wait, here’s the video of Islamist parasite Abu Izzadeen justifying the bombings last year in Birmingham. Mohammed Siddique Khan, who’s mentioned throughout, was the alleged leader of the cell.

Update: All right, the best thing to do here is to point you back to this post I wrote in May after the British government published its findings in two inquiries into the bombings. There’s always been speculation that more people were involved than just the four who did it, starting with the fact that more bombs were found in their car after the attack and extending to a purported domestic mastermind whom they may or may not have rendezvoused with during a whitewater rafting trip and who may or may not have left the country shortly before the bombings. They also were known to hang around a gym in Beeston known locally as, I kid you not, “the al-Qaeda gym.”

Still, this is the bit most worth blockquoting:

Magdy al-Nashar, an Egyptian biochemist who lived in Leeds and had links with members of the bomb cell, has never returned from Cairo since going there last summer. British police would like to speak to him.

One of the suspects arrested today was from Leeds.

Some of the suspects arrested in the UK airplane plot over the summer also allegedly had “ties” to the 7/7 bombers, including — possibly — Rashid Rauf, the accused ringleader arrested in Pakistan who reportedly acted as a liaison between the cell and AQ leadership.

Update: The fact that two of the arrestees were waiting for a flight to Pakistan will not come as welcome news to Musharraf. Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid has an op-ed in WaPo today explaining why the wheels might be about to come off:

Musharraf is losing control of three key elements that have sustained his rule but are now either distancing themselves or turning on him completely. The first is the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Party, which has acted as the civilian appendage to the military but faces an election and knows that going to bat for the unpopular Musharraf will turn off voters. Party leaders and cabinet ministers are already distancing themselves from him.

The second element is the country’s three intelligence agencies, which are at loggerheads over control of Musharraf, Pakistan’s foreign policy, its political process and the media. Military Intelligence and the Inter-Services Intelligence are military agencies, while the largest civilian agency, the Intelligence Bureau, is now run by a military officer. Ironically, Inter-Services Intelligence, the most powerful agency in the country, has been the moderate element urging Musharraf to open up the political system to the opposition parties. The other two agencies are the hard-liners and are urging Musharraf to adopt even tougher measures.

The third loss for Musharraf has been the unqualified international support he has received since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Anger in the U.S. Congress and media, and particularly among members of the Republican Party, toward Musharraf’s dual-track policy in Afghanistan — helping to catch al-Qaeda members but backing the Taliban — is making it difficult for President Bush to continue offering Musharraf his blanket support…

Musharraf is now too weak to pursue policies that could keep his back-stabbers in check, restore his credibility at home and abroad, and pursue his agenda of remaining in power for the next five years.