Syria Releases the 7/7 London Bombing ‘Mastermind’
The alleged terrorist mastermind behind the July 7 London bombings is reported to have been freed from a Syrian jail by President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Abu Musab al-Suri had been held in Syria for six years after being captured by the CIA in 2005 and transported to the country of his birth under its controversial extraordinary rendition programme.
But he is now said to have been released as a warning to the US and Britain about the consequences of turning their backs on President al-Assad’s regime as it tries to contain the uprising in the country.
Al-Suri, also known as Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, was al-Qaeda’s operations chief in Europe and has been accused of planning the London bombings, in which four British-born terrorists detonated three bombs on the Underground and another on a bus, killing 52 people and injuring more than 700 others in 2005.
In a statement released after the attacks, al-Suri said: “[In my teachings] I have mentioned vital and legitimate targets to be hit in the enemy’s countries … Among those targets that I speciﬁcally mentioned as examples was the London Underground. [Targeting this] was and still is the aim.”
A mechanical engineer, he is also wanted in Spain in connection with the Madrid train bombings in 2004, which left 191 dead, and for links to an attack on the Paris Metro in 1995.
A judge has also ordered his arrest with other members of a Spanish terror cell that helped prepare the way for the September 11 attacks in 2001 on New York and Washington.
With his red hair, green eyes, pale features and trimmed beard, Syrian-born al-Suri was able to easily pass as a European and plot some of al-Qaeda’s worse atrocities.
Married to a Spanish woman, he spent three years in London in the 1990s, before moving to Afghanistan to run two of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist training camps where he began experimenting with chemical weapons and set up sleeper cells in Europe.
While in this role, he conceived the plan to attack the London transport system and may have met some of the British-born suicide bombers led by Mohammad Sidique Khan when they are believed to have visited terrorist train camps in Pakistan.
Al-Suri, who had a £3 million US State Department bounty on his head, was reportedly captured in Pakistan in November 2005 and handed to the CIA.