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Homeland Security

SLUG: 2-326138 London/Bombings (L)








HEADLINE: London Police Apologize for Shooting Innocent Man

INTRO: London's police chief has apologized to the family of a Brazilian man shot to death during a police manhunt for suspects in a bungled bombing of the mass transit network. VOA's Michael Drudge has more from London.

TEXT: The killing of a 27-year-old Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, has become an international incident, and has set back police efforts to reach out to disaffected British Muslims.

Police shot and killed Mr. Menezes on a subway train Friday during a manhunt for four suspects in the attempted bombing of three subway cars and a bus one day earlier.

Witnesses say Mr. Menezes was wearing an unseasonably heavy coat, and was running away from plainclothes police officers moments before he was fatally shot. Police sources say officers feared he had explosives hidden under the coat.

On Sunday, London Police Commissioner Ian Blair offered an apology during an interview with Sky News television.

/// BLAIR ACT ///

"The Metropolitan Police accepts the full responsibility for this. And to the family, I can only express our deep regrets. But I think it is also important to recognize that the underlying causes of this are not a police action or a police policy or procedures, but actually the fact that we have terrorists using suicide as a weapon on the streets of London and below the streets of London and that is the context in which we are operating."

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Menezes's body was identified by his cousin, Alex Pereira, who is in no mood to accept regrets from the police.


"He had nothing to hide from anyone and I tell you, it is incompetence, it could be you, it could be anyone."

/// END ACT ///

The revelation that London police have shoot-to-kill orders for suspected suicide bombers has angered some segments of Britain's Muslim community, particularly younger Muslims, who have been under scrutiny since July Seventh, when four young British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in attacks on London's transport network.

But other Muslim community leaders say they understand the pressure police are under, as explained by the founder of London's Muslim College, Zaki Badawi.

/// BADAWI ACT ///

"I sympathize with the police. These are exceptional circumstances, and what happened to the Brazilian is regrettable, but understandable in the circumstances."

/// END ACT ///

In another development, police are investigating links between the July Seventh bombers and the four men who are still at large after Thursday's failed bombing attempts. Operators of a white-water rafting company in Wales say two men from each group recently participated together in a river trip there. (SIGNED)


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