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Bomb suspects 'watched in 2004'

Story Highlights

• Five defendants photographed by police on camping trip in 2004, officer says
• One defendant stopped at Heathrow in 2004 traveling to Pakistan, police say
• Six men are on trial over four botched bomb attacks on transport network
• Attack came 14 days after July 7, 2005 bombings, which killed 52 commuters
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LONDON, England -- Several of the alleged July 21 bomb plotters were under police surveillance on a camping trip in northern England over a year before the attempted suicide attacks, a court heard on Wednesday.

Ramzi Mohammed, Muktar Said Ibrahim, Adel Yahya, Hussain Osman and Yassin Omar were photographed by Scotland Yard officers in the Lake District in May 2004.

Prosecutors accuse the five and Manfu Asiedu of attempting to carry out suicide bombings on London's transport system on July 21, 2005, two weeks after four British Muslims blew themselves up, killing 52 people on three London Underground trains and a bus. (Watch dramatic courtroom scenes detailed Video)

At one point on the camping trip at a farm in Cumbria, several of the men, who were among a group of about 23, appeared to line up and pray, the high-security Woolwich Crown Court was told, according to the Press Association.

The trial heard evidence from two police officers who were sent to photograph them on May 3, 2004 as they were packing up and preparing to leave the campsite.

One of the officers told the court that before their departure, the men "appeared to form a semi-circle around one of the vehicles and engage in prayer."

The jury was shown pictures of four of the casually dressed defendants, standing in the prayer line. Ramzi Mohammed, who was wearing green camouflage trousers, had his hands folded on his chest and his head bowed.

The officer also said he saw the men taking part in an organized running activity on a hill. "They did not appear to be running randomly. It appeared as though there were a series of men in a line running up and down," he said.

Also on Wednesday, another police officer told the court how he stopped Muktar Said Ibrahim at Heathrow airport in December 2004 as he was leaving Britain for Pakistan.

Detective Constable Louis Chryssathis said that when asked about religion, Ibrahim "stated he was a Muslim by birth but not a regular worshipper. He stated he was not able to worship as often as he would like. He said he didn't have enough time," Reuters said.

Chryssathis said that Ibrahim was stopped at the airport west of London with two friends, and told police he was going to Pakistan to attend the wedding of one of them.

But he did not know the bride's name nor how the couple had become engaged, Chryssathis told the court.

Ibrahim was found to have £2,000 ($3,900) with him, along with a first-aid kit, sleeping bag and warm outdoor clothing.

He and his companions missed their flight but were allowed to continue on a later flight to Pakistan, Chryssathis said.

Passengers flee

As the trial opened on Monday, chief prosecutor Nigel Sweeney told the court the defendants devised an "extremist Muslim plot" to carry out the suicide bombings. (Full story)

And on Tuesday jurors were shown dramatic footage prosecutors say shows Mohammed trying to detonate his bomb on a Tube train packed with terrified passengers. (Full story)

Four of the six would-be bombers succeeded in triggering detonators, but the main charges failed to explode.

The targets -- three Tube trains and a bus -- mirrored those in the deadly attacks by four young British Muslims on July 7, 2005.

The failed second set of attacks caused panic and triggered a huge manhunt.

All the main suspects on trial were apprehended just over a week after the failed attacks.

Ibrahim Muktar Said, 28, Ramzi Mohamed, 25, Yassin Omar, 26, Manfu Asiedu, 33, Adel Yahya, 24, and Hussain Osman, 28 -- all from London -- deny charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. All are originally from Africa.


Court saw police surveillance image of Muktar Said Ibrahim at the camp.




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