July 7 Bombers Tied To Al Qaeda

The July 7 London bombers may have been homegrown, but investigators are now certain they had direct ties to al Qaeda.

Mohammed Siddique Khan, the 30-year-old suspected ringleader of the London bombings, had key connections that could have led to his earlier arrest, CBS News Correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports from London.

A source familiar with the investigation has told CBS News that an American al Qaeda operative, now in U.S. custody, told the FBI that he escorted Siddique Khan to a terrorist training camp in northern Pakistan and that Khan was in Pakistan at the same time as another group of alleged British terrorists.

The operative-turned-source is Mohammed Junaid Babar. After 9/11, he went to Pakistan and signed up for jihad. He made his commitment clear in a Canadian television interview.

"Yes, I am willing to kill the American soldiers if they enter into Afghanistan with their ground troops," Babar said during a Nov. 2001 interview from Islamabad.

Last year, after Babar's return to the United States, he admitted supplying money and materials to high-ranking al Qaeda leaders on the run as well as organizing a terrorist training camp.

He also gave investigators information which led to Operation Crevice, the unraveling of another U.K. plot to bomb restaurants and train stations.

"That plot was thwarted and it appears that the attack on July 7 was a follow-on attack rather than the first one and it appears also that the terrorists intended to hit Great Britain a number of times," said M.J. Gohel, a terrorism and security analyst.

It was during Operation Crevice that London bomber Siddique Khan's name first surfaced. Investigators never pursued his contacts with extremists, including those they had arrested, or his travels to Pakistan, where investigators now know he was meeting with al Qaeda operatives.

For days after the bombing, British officials insisted the cell had been flying below their radar. It now appears at least one of the bombers crossed their sights, but they failed to understand what they were looking at.

And a source close to the investigation tells CBS News it is becoming clear there are more men like Siddique Khan and the July 7 bombers here, in this country.
  • Sean Alfano

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