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Sources: Explosive found in biochemist's flat

Leeds shop owner: Three suspected bombers met often



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(CNN) -- The explosive TATP was found in connection with the investigation of the London bombings, three knowledgeable sources have told CNN.

One of the sources said that investigators found the TATP in the Leeds apartment rented by Magdy el-Nashar, an Egyptian biochemist detained for questioning Thursday in connection with the London attacks.

At least 54 people died in the bombings of three subways and a double-decker bus last week. Seven-hundred people were wounded.

Of the dead, 41 have been identified, said the Identity Commission Friday. It released the names of 31 victims and some of their ages. (Victims identified)

TATP, which stands for triacetone triperoxide, has been used in the past by terrorists, including Richard Reid, who packed his shoes with it in an unsuccessful attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound American Airlines flight in December 2001.

It was not immediately clear whether the same explosive found in el-Nashar's apartment was used in the London terrorist attacks.

Experts have said TATP requires someone knowledgeable about the chemical to make an explosive device.

El-Nashar earned a doctorate in biochemistry from Leeds University this year; the school says he has not been seen on campus since the beginning of July.

Two of the four suspected bombers in the London attacks -- Hasib Hussain and Shahzad Tanweer -- were also from Leeds, 200 miles (320 km) north of London.

The Guardian newspaper reported Friday that several kilos of "potentially dangerous" chemicals were found at el-Nashar's apartment Wednesday night after army explosives experts blew open the front door.

The report also said the apartment was located near a suspected bomb factory in Leeds, where authorities have been focusing much of their efforts.

Trio of suspects spotted together

In recent months 18-year-old Hussain and 22-year-old Tanweer often met 30-year-old Mohammad Sadique Khan, of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, at the Hamara Islamic community center in Leeds, said a nearby shop owner.

The merchant, who did not want to be identified, said the three bombing suspects used to wait for each other before going into the center, which has a gym. Once inside, he said, they would post a sign on the door that read, "Gone for lunch."

Khan also used to go to a gym just a few blocks away, where he served as a youth worker, said Leeds City Councilman Mohammad Iqbal.

Police are trying to determine what brought together the three men -- along with a fourth suspect, Germain Morris Lindsay. Investigators are looking into who, if anybody, may have financed the operation.

Police have seized computers from the center.

FBI agents are following leads and possible links in the United States to last week's attacks.

Khan telephoned New York City not long before the explosions, knowledgeable sources told CNN. Police are investigating the significance of that communication.

Also, Lindsay's mother once lived in Cleveland, Ohio, and he visited her in 1994 and 2000 or 2001, said sources familiar with the investigation. The sources said his last visit was for only three or four days. Sources said Lindsay's mother hasn't lived in the Midwestern city for at least a year, and officials are trying to locate her.

Officials: El-Nashar's name surfaces

El-Nashar was arrested at Cairo International Airport at the request of London authorities, said Egyptian security sources, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Scotland Yard issued a statement acknowledging his arrest but saying it was "not prepared to discuss who we may or may not wish to interview in connection with this investigation."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair told reporters: "We will be monitoring the development in Egypt very carefully, and if it's necessary we will send officers there, or we will seek extradition or whatever other processes are necessary."

El-Nashar's name surfaced during a search of a property near London, one official said. Another official said a number found in a cell phone recovered in a search led investigators to pursue el-Nashar.

It was not clear whose number was found in the phone.

El-Nashar's home is one of several searched in Leeds. At one point investigators sent in a bomb squad.

The 33-year-old has "denied any relationship to what happened recently in London," the Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a written statement.

The ministry's statement said he has lived in Britain since 2000 and that his family lives in the Cairo neighborhood of Basatin.

The statement identified him as Magdy Mahmoud Mustapha el-Nashar, born on May 27, 1972.

The statement went on to say he left Britain on a study break, planned to return to continue his studies, and quoted el-Nashar as saying all his possessions were still in his apartment in Britain.

Meanwhile, the FBI has begun an investigation into his background while studying chemical engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, U.S. law enforcement officials told CNN.

School records indicate he enrolled there during the spring semester of 2000.(Full story)

'Clear al Qaeda link'

Earlier Friday, Ian Blair said he expected the investigation to uncover a "clear al Qaeda link" and warned again of the "very strong possibility" of further terrorist attacks.

He acknowledged that a man on a watch list had entered the country shortly before the attacks but was not put under surveillance because he was not considered a high enough priority.

The man reportedly flew out of the country just before the bombers struck, the UK's Press Association said.

"With this particular man there is nothing at the moment that links him directly, but what we expect to find at some stage is that there is a clear al Qaeda link," Blair told the BBC.

He said police were concentrating on finding the handlers and bomb makers who organized the attacks.

"We have got to find ... who encouraged them, who trained them, who is the chemist. Those are the things in which we are now so interested."

Suspect's family issues statement

Hussain's family said Friday they had "no knowledge of his activities," and that if they had, "we would have done everything in our power to stop him."

"We, the family of Hasib Mir Hussain, are devastated over the events of the past few days," read their statement, which was issued by the West Yorkshire police.

"Our thoughts are with all the bereaved families, and we have to live ourselves with the loss of our son in these difficult circumstances."

The family urged people with knowledge about the attacks to fully cooperate with authorities.

On Thursday, police released a closed-circuit TV image of the teenager with a rucksack on his back, as he made his way through Luton railway station at 7:20 a.m. en route to London, more than two hours before the attacks there. (Full story)

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's antiterror branch, has confirmed that Hussain has been identified as the person responsible for the bus attack. Clarke has also confirmed that Tanweer was believed to be behind the attack on the subway train between the Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations.

Police sources said documents belonging to the men were found at the respective sites.

Officials familiar with the investigation have identified Khan and Lindsay as the third and fourth man suspected in the bombings.

Khan visited Britain's Houses of Parliament in July of last year as a guest of a minister of parliament, the Labor Party told the British Press Association Friday.

The report said he was serving at the time as a mentor at the Hillside Primary School in Leeds.

Parliament member Jon Trickett's wife Sarah also teaches there, and the two men met during the visit.

CNN's Nic Robertson, Kelli Arena, Marylynn Ryan, Kevin Bohn, Pam Benson and Henry Schuster contributed to this report

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