View Full Version : Police terror shooting questioned (not De Menezes, another one)

06-04-2006, 11:55 AM
Police terror shooting questioned
BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5045104.stm)

There are conflicting reports over the shooting of a man during Friday's anti-terrorism raid in east London. Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, is at Paddington Green police station for questioning after hospital treatment.

His lawyer insisted he was shot in the shoulder by police in the Forest Gate raid on Friday. Police have not confirmed they fired the shot.

One report suggests his brother Abul Koyair shot him. Both are under arrest and deny involvement in terrorism.he News of the World, quoting a Whitehall source, claims Mr Kahar was shot accidentally by his 20-year-old brother, who is being held at Paddington Green police station.

The source said the gun had gone off in a scuffle, and that police officers were "adamant" that they did not pull the trigger.

Denies shooting

But solicitor Julian Young, who represents Mr Koyair, said there was "no truth" in reports his client was responsible for the gunshot.

He said of events during the raid: "He said he did not struggle, did not cause his brother to be shot and did not shoot his brother."

Mr Kahar's solicitor had assured him "there is no question of the fact that the police fired the gun", he added.

BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Daniel Sandford said there was confusion over the shooting, partly because the only official statement - from the head of the anti-terrorist branch, Peter Clarke - did not say police shot the man.

The Metropolitan Police have never said a warning was given - the statement said only that a 23-year-old man had received a gunshot wound.

Since it became a source of speculation in Sunday's newspapers, they have not clarified who fired the gun.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said it was inappropriate for them to comment while the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the incident was under way.

'Absolute nonsense'

Mr Kahar's solicitor Kate Roxburgh said one of the 250 police officers involved in the raid was responsible for firing the shot.

"He was woken up about four in the morning by screams from downstairs, got out of bed in his pyjamas obviously unarmed, nothing in his hands and hurrying down the stairs."

Her client, whom she said was innocent, was shot "without any warning, at close range" as he came down the stairs, she added.

"He wasn't asked to freeze, given any warning and didn't know the people in his house were police officers until after he was shot," she added.

She said Mr Kahar was "lucky still to be alive" and reports he was shot by his brother were "absolute nonsense".

Meanwhile, police are continuing to conduct an extensive search of the terraced house in Lansdown Road following intelligence that suggested there was a "viable" chemical device in the property.

The search could continue for a few days.

According to BBC home affairs correspondent Margaret Gilmore, police do not believe it would be a sophisticated bomb, but a homemade device.

Mr Koyair's solicitor said his client "denies any involvement in the commission, preparation, or instigation of terrorist offences".

After a closed court hearing in central London - at which police were given permission to hold both men until Wednesday - the solicitor said his client would be interviewed by officers again on Sunday.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke said Friday's operation was planned in response to "specific intelligence".

Sense of proportion

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said ministers were being kept informed of the situation but refused to comment on the details.

Security sources told the BBC that the potentially fatal device thought to be in the house could produce casualty figures in double or even triple figures.

But the operation has angered some locals, prompting a leaflet to be circulated announcing a meeting to discuss the raid.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the outgoing head of the Muslim Council of Britain, said he had had discussions with police "at the highest level", who had assured him that the operation in Forest Gate was intelligence-led.

He said the facts needed to be established about the suspected threat posed, but added that a sense of "proportionality" was important in such investigations and he could see why the use of about 250 police officers had angered locals.

Police officers can shoot "to stop an imminent threat to life"
A firearms officer should identify themselves and give an oral warning of intent to shoot
Officers should not fire warning shots except in "most serious and exceptional" circumstances
Shots should be aimed at the central body mass
The Operation Kratos [shoot-to-kill] policy allows officers to shoot at the head without warning if they believe the suspect may detonate a bomb
Kratos does not require police to see a "suicide jacket" before opening fire

06-04-2006, 12:02 PM
Yeah, When I heard this on the news, that's the first thing I thought of. They said police shot a man during a terror raid. They went on to say they didn't find any weapons or bomb making or chemical weapons making materials. I then asked myself, "Well, then why did they shoot someone, if there were no weapons found?"

06-04-2006, 10:20 PM
[Partridge: I'm sure you're all as shocked as I am...]

Officials admit doubts over chemical plot
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1790443,00.html?gusrc=rss)

Counter-terrorism officials conceded yesterday that lethal chemical devices they feared had been stored at an east London house raided on Friday may never have existed.Confidence among officials appeared to be waning as searches at the address continued to yield no evidence of a plot for an attack with cyanide or other chemicals. A man was shot during the raid, adding to pressure on the authorities for answers about the accuracy of the intelligence that led them to send 250 officers to storm the man's family home at dawn.

Officials are not yet prepared to admit the intelligence was wrong. But there is diminishing optimism that it will be shown to wholly or even partially correct. Speaking of the feared chemical devices, one official said: "They might be elsewhere or never existed." [Partridge: they might be in IRAQ! Sorry, Iran... or is it Syria... I forget...]

The raid, at 4am on Friday, was launched after MI5 received intelligence from an informant of the existence of a viable chemicial device at the property, which was to be used in an attack in Britain with the potential for substantial loss of life.

During the raid a 23-year-old Muslim man was shot, and he and his brother were arrested on suspicion of terrorism.

Scotland Yard said yesterday that searches at the property would continue for several days. Sources with responsibility for the security of the transport system, one of the most likely targets of a chemical device, say they have not been made aware the searches have produced any trace of a chemical device, either at the address in east London or elsewhere. "So far nothing from the search bears out the intelligence," said one source.

The Guardian has learned that over the weekend police intensified their planning for dealing with community anger if it turns out the intelligence was wrong.

Security and intelligence officials yesterday defended the decision to raid the house: "We have a duty of care to the general public, we can't do [police anti-terrorist] operations by halves," said one official.

A senior police source explained the police's dilemma: "In other crime you can take a risk to firm up the intelligence. The trouble with this new world of terrorism is you don't have the time, you can't firm up the intelligence to the point you like.

"The public may have to get used to this sort of incident, with the police having to be safe rather than sorry."

Anti-terrorism police yesterday began questioning the man shot in the raid, after his release from hospital. His lawyer named him as Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, who with his brother Abul Koyair, 20, protest their innocence and deny any link to Islamist extremism.

Mr Koyair's solicitor, Julian Young, denied media reports that his client had any criminal convictions. Lawyers for the men also denied a report that Mr Kahar had been shot by his brother after grappling with an armed police officer for his gun.

Mr Kahar's solicitor, Kate Roxburgh, said the 23-year-old Royal Mail worker had been shot in the upper right hand side of his chest, with the bullet exiting through his shoulder on an upwards trajectory. She said his brother had been standing behind Mr Kahar at the time.

Both solicitors said there had been no struggle before the shot was fired without warning, but Ms Roxburgh said Mr Kahar had grabbed the gun after he was shot fearing it would be fired again, leaving him with a burn to his hand from the hot barrel.

06-07-2006, 12:47 PM
Intelligence behind raid was wrong, officials say
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1791110,00.html)

Senior counter-terrorism officials now believe that the intelligence that led to the raid on a family house last Friday in a search for a chemical device about to be used to attack Britain was wrong, the Guardian has learned.Counter-terrorism officials were under pressure last night after days of meticulous search of the house in east London failed to produce anything to link the two men they arrested to a chemical plot. But a senior police officer said they had been left with "no choice" but to force entry into the house because there was specific intelligence of a threat to public safety.

One official, with knowledge why police acted and what had been found from days of searching, said the intelligence had been acted on correctly, but added last night: "There is no viable device at that house. There is no device being constructed, or chemicals. There does not appear to be anything there or anywhere else."

As lawyers for the two arrested men continued to protest their innocence, it emerged that the man who had passed the specific information that led to the raid in which a man was shot last Friday was a police informant who had been providing intelligence about the activities of alleged Islamist militants for several weeks.

This was despite previous reports quoting police sources that suggested the informant was being handled by the security service, MI5. It was the police who passed the information from the informant to MI5 officers to assess it, the Guardian understands. MI5 and police then agreed the information was specific and credible and made a joint decision it had to be acted upon immediately.

It is understood that attempts to corroborate the information were not made because of the perceived need to act quickly. "If there was an immediate risk to public safety, there would not have been time to bug the house," an intelligence source said. A counter-terrorism official said: "If the intelligence was right there was a serious risk to the public. We did not know if it was right or not until we went in." Another official added: "Intelligence is patchy. Even if it suggests a 5% likelihood of something nasty, we can't take that risk".

But what remains puzzling is the reliance on a single apparently uncorroborated source for information that prompted a high-profile mass raid which, even without the shooting of one of the men, would have provoked a strong reaction. Andy Hayman, the Met's assistant commissioner specialist operations, refused to apologise for the raid yesterday while admitting that so far officers had not found the specific item they were looking for - thought to be a chemical device - in the terraced house in Forest Gate which was the subject of a pre-dawn raid involving more than 250 officers, including armed teams and government scientists.

He refused to end the confusion about the raid or clarify how a 23-year-old man was shot during the operation. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is likely to take months to produce a report on the shooting.

Mr Hayman said officers had "no choice" but to mobilise a large number of officers and force entry into the house in Lansdown Road at 4am. During the operation Mohammed Abdul Kahar was shot before being arrested with his 20-year-old brother, Abul Koyair. Both men were being held at Paddington Green police station last night, although officers have yet to begin interviewing Mr Kahar because of his injury.

"The ideal situation is you have as much time as you possibly can to get the richest of pictures," Mr Hayman said. "The dilemma is in receiving information that is so specific and of a nature that starts to put public safety into question, there is no real decision to be made. You have got to take public safety as an overriding priority.

"If you chose not to do that and heaven forbid it was a wrong decision and there was some device or whatever else, you would never be able to live with yourself, that you shied away from deciding to intervene."

He revealed that officers would continue examining No 46 Lansdown Road, and the neighbouring house which was owned by the family until at least the end of the week. "We haven't found what we went in there to look for yet but we have still got a number of days." So far officers have removed documents from in the men's rooms and computers.

Kate Roxburgh, the solicitor representing Mr Kahar, said: "He is very anti-terrorism. He is very keen on police pursuing their inquiries but obviously he is not happy that they have focused on him. He cannot think of any involvement with anybody - or anybody who might be involved in terrorism."

Julian Young, Mr Koyair's solicitor, said: "He continues to deny any involvement in the commission, preparation or instigation of any acts of terrorism."

06-07-2006, 12:49 PM
Respect urges Muslims to end police co-operation
Independent (http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article702982.ece)

Muslims in east London should withdraw co-operation with the police in the wake of last week's terror raid in which a man was shot, a Respect party activist has said. Yvonne Ridley said the community was being "terrorised" by the Metropolitan Police and should end all contact with the force.

But a senior officer said relations on the ground were vital to ensuring difficult issues were handled in a sensitive way.

Ms Ridley, a former journalist who converted to Islam after being kidnapped by the Taliban, said: "I don't think the Muslim community should communicate with the police any more until they start showing some respect to the community.

"There are Muslim community leaders - largely self-appointed - who regularly hold meetings with the police," she said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I'm afraid these leaders are confusing access to the top brass with influence. The reality is that they have neither. What we are witnessing now is the terrorisation of one community."

At a meeting of the party last night in the area of the raid, she suggested non-co-operation "goes from asking the community copper for directions to passing the time of the day with the beat officers".

Commander Steve Allen, who heads territorial policing, said: "What is more likely to deliver effective police and community and responses to situations like this?

"Is it when we talk to each other, when we spend time trying to understand each other's perspective or is it when we call for complete disengagement?

"I'm sure your listeners will have a view on that."

He added: "Society has to trust us to make decisions based on sometimes less than perfect information.

"The best interests of the community always lies in preventing acts of terrorism, and we have to make those difficult decisions about when to act and when not to act.

"Our view and our job is always to do that job alongside and in engagement with the people for whom we work, i.e. the communities of London.

"The daily reality in London is that we are seeing falling crime, rising confidence.

"We wouldn't be seeing those things if we weren't daily engaged with the people for whom we work. "

Ms Ridley said the police should respond to terror threats "in a responsible way and stop shooting people".

Commander Allen urged Ms Ridley to hold talks with him on the subject, warning her that communities needed to be "deeply engaged" in the fight against terrorism.