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Egyptian Man Questioned About London Bombings

Nancy Steinbach and Jerilyn Watson

I’m Steve Ember with IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

In Cairo Friday, officials confirmed the arrest of an Egyptian man sought in connection with the London bombings last week. Egypt's Interior Ministry says he denies any involvement.

Magdy Elnashar is thirty-three years old. He studied in the United States at North Carolina State University. He received a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Leeds in northern England in May.

Mister Elnashar told Egyptian officials that he came for the university vacation time and planned to return to Britain. Reports say he arrived in Egypt before the attacks in London on July seventh.

The attacks killed more than fifty people and injured seven hundred. Bombs exploded on a bus and three Underground trains. On Thursday, one week later, the European Union remembered the victims with two minutes of silence.

Four British men have been named as the suspected bombers. Police say all four are dead. Images from security cameras show the men at King’s Cross station about thirty minutes before the train explosions. Police say the four had arrived in London that morning by train.

Three lived in Leeds. They were born in Britain to families from Pakistan. Police say they found evidence of explosives during searches of homes in the city.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair says the search for supporters of the plot continues. On Friday, he described the four men as "foot soldiers." He says officials expect to find a link to the al-Qaida group. And he says part of the investigation involves Pakistan where at least one man went for religious education.

The attacks in London last week, and the train bombings in Madrid last year, have many worried about what may happen next.

European Union officials met in Brussels last year after the bombings in Spain. Those attacks killed almost two hundred people and injured almost two thousand. The officials developed a list of more than one hundred fifty measures to prevent more attacks. But not all have been put into effect.

European Union officials met again last week in Brussels to discuss security. They agreed to speed up the anti-terrorism measures approved last year. These include blocking money that could go to terrorist groups and increasing cooperation among European intelligence services. Twenty-five nations are in the European Union.

British Home Secretary Charles Clarke says living without fear of terrorism should be recognized as a human right. Yet human rights groups say they fear that the European Union could go too far and restrict civil liberties.

Prime Minister Tony Blair proposes his own anti-terrorism plan. It includes calls for studying stronger ways for Britain to keep out or expel anyone who incites hatred. Mister Blair has also called for talks with British Muslim leaders.

IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English was written by Nancy Steinbach and Jerilyn Watson. Our reports are on the Web at I’m Steve Ember.