Iran TerrorismNicked: Doc and wife in a burka

Nicked: Doc and wife in a burka

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The Sun: The suspected ringleader of a plot to unleash a blitz of car bombs on Britain is an Iranian doctor arrested with his burka-clad wife. The Sun

By MIKE SULLIVAN
Crime Editor
and ANDREW PARKER

THE suspected ringleader of a plot to unleash a blitz of car bombs on Britain is an Iranian doctor arrested with his burka-clad wife.

Neurologist Dr Mohammed Asha, 26, and his wife, 27, were dramatically held as they drove on the M6 in Cheshire with their two-year-old son.

Five people were being quizzed — at least two of them medics — as it became clear the attacks in London and Glasgow were by the same gang.

Sources said one of two men held while trying to smash a blazing vehicle into a Glasgow Airport terminal on Saturday afternoon is also a doctor, from Iraq.

Security bosses believe the two men in Glasgow also drove two Mercedes cars laden with petrol and gas canisters used in a failed bid to devastate London’s West End early on Friday.

The Ashas were arrested by officers from a West Midlands counter-terrorism unit at 9.17pm on Saturday.

It is thought the car they were driving flashed up on a number plate recognition camera, which alerted cops to their whereabouts.

Dr Asha and his wife were forced to a stop when their car was boxed in by police in the northbound carriageway near Sandbach, Cheshire.

Their home 12 miles away in a cul-de-sac in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffs, was being searched by forensic officers yesterday.

Dr Asha has just started a job at the North Staffordshire Hospital in nearby Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent.

But it is feared he may also be the head of an al-Qaeda cell. Anti-terror cops also carried out a search of his locker at the hospital.

A security source said: “It is shocking that a doctor, of all people, could be arrested over an attempt to kill and maim hundreds of people.”

Yesterday neighbours of the doctor said he and his wife had hardly any visitors during their year in the house. But in the past two weeks two Asian men with long beards had turned up in a car on several occasions and stayed the night.

Dr Asha has rented the smart property for the past 12 months from landlord Wendy Weaver, 53.

She let the house after emigrating to Dubai and left her son Simon Plant, 33, who lives round the corner, to help service the property.

Lift engineer Simon said: “Dr Asha dressed in Muslim style, with a flat woollen hat, and he sports a beard.

“His wife always wore a burka. He was paying £500-a-month rent and was in many ways the ideal tenant.

“There were lots of medical books lying around. My mum says the doctor had contacted her and said he intended leaving in July.”

Dr Asha and his wife, who is thought to be from the Middle East, were driven to London’s Paddington Green police station, along with a suspect arrested in Liverpool and one of the men arrested at Glasgow airport.

Reports that up to three suspects were still on the run were dismissed last night by security sources speaking to The Sun.

Two Mercedes cars were used in Friday’s failed bid to blast the packed Tiger Tiger club in London.

On Saturday two men drove a blazing Jeep Cherokee filled with petrol and gas canisters into a terminal building at Glasgow Airport. One of them suffered 90 per cent burns after setting himself on fire while crying: “Allah, Allah.”

They are believed to have come from the Middle East a year ago.

Hero Steve Clarkson told how he helped cops grab the burning man as he got out of the car. He said: “I knocked the Asian fellow to the ground. Four police then got on top of him. He was smouldering.”

The bomber is seriously ill. A controlled explosion took place at Glasgow’s Royal Alexandria Hospital where he was being treated yesterday. It is believed a suspect device had been found in a white BMW in the car park.

It emerged that police were hunting the Glasgow terrorists hours before they struck. They tried to get in touch with the letting agent responsible for the house suspects shared in Houston, Renfrewshire.

But their message was only picked up ten minutes before the attack. The house was searched yesterday. Ian Thomson, 25, who lives opposite, said it was occupied by two Asian men. He added: “We thought one was a doctor. He would leave wearing blue scrubs and a stethoscope.” The fifth suspect was arrested in Liverpool on Saturday after cops stopped a car in Lime Street.

Two houses in the city were also raided. Student Declan Murphy, 22, who lives near one of the properties, said: “We thought the two Asian men there were student doctors. I once saw one of them with a stethoscope round his neck.”

Hundreds of people were evacuated at London Heathrow airport last night and an unattended suitcase blown up by the bomb squad. It did not contain explosives.

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