Published January 13, 2015
A man suspected of being the bomb-maker in last week's London terror attacks has been apprehended in Cairo, the British Embassy confirmed to FOX on Friday.
Magdy Mahmoud Mustafa el-Nashar (search) denied any role in the attacks, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement. El-Nashar was taken into custody after the July 7 bombings and was being questioned, the statement said.
El-Nashar was vacationing in Egypt and had intended to go back to Britain to continue his studies, the ministry said, without specifying the date he was taken into custody.
"El-Nashar denied having any relation with the latest events in London. He pointed out that all his belongings remained in his apartment in Britain," it said.
Scotland Yard was not confirming the identity of the suspect. Metropolitan Police in London said a man has been arrested in Cairo, but they would not confirm his name or characterize him as a suspect.
U.S., British and Egyptian officials had been in contact concerning el-Nashar following the attacks, an Interior Ministry official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was giving information not in the official ministry announcement.
El-Nashar, a 33-year-old chemist, is a former North Carolina State University graduate student. He had been sought as the possible bomb-maker in the London attacks, which killed 54 and wounded more than 700.
In another connection to the U.S., a Homeland Security official told FOX News that Jamaican-born Briton Lindsey Germaine (search), one of the suspected bombers, spent time in Ohio in 2000. Law enforcement officials are trying to determine if Germaine may have had some contact with Iyman Faris, who was convicted of attempting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.
Also Friday, police in Leeds raided and seized materials from a shop selling Islamic books and DVDs just blocks from where at least two of the four London homicide bombers lived.
Muslim leaders have said the young bombers might have been inspired by radical literature. It was not immediately clear whether any of the four bombers had links to the shop, but neighbors speculated that the owner or manager may have met the suspects there.
An earlier search of a flat in Leeds rented by el-Nashar found evidence of explosives similar to those used in the failed 2001 shoe-bombing plot involving Richard Reid, according to The Times of London.
El-Nashar was arrested early Friday, the Egyptian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official announcement of the information had not yet been made. He was being interrogated by Egyptian authorities, the official said.
British and FBI officials had been looking for el-Nashar, who recently had been teaching chemistry at Leeds University, north of London. The Times of London said el-Nashar was thought to have rented one of the homes police searched in Leeds in a series of raids Tuesday. Neighbors reported el-Nashar recently left Britain, saying he had a visa problem, the newspaper said.
Leeds University said el-Nashar arrived in October 2000 to do biochemical research, sponsored by the National Research Center in Cairo, Egypt. It said he earned a doctorate on May 6.
FBI agents in Raleigh, N.C., had joined the search for el-Nashar. North Carolina State spokesman Keith Nichols said a person named el-Nashar studied at the university as a graduate student in chemical engineering for a semester beginning in January 2000 until the spring.
"We're aware of an arrest in Cairo, but we are not prepared to discuss who we may or may not wish to interview in connection with this investigation," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement. "This remains a fast-moving investigation with a number of lines of inquiry, some of which may have an international dimension."
Earlier, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair (search) said investigators were hunting the organizers of the London transit attacks — perpetrated by what he called "foot soldiers" — and confirmed police were focusing on a Pakistan connection.
Three of the bombers who carried out last week's terror strikes were Britons of Pakistani origin. Pakistani intelligence officials said Friday that local authorities are looking into a connection between one of the three and two Al Qaeda-linked militant groups in that country.
Blair told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that police believed they would discover an Al Qaeda (search) connection to the blasts that killed at least 54 people.
"What we expect to find at some stage is that there is a clear Al Qaeda link, a clear Al Qaeda approach, because the four men who are dead, who we believe are the bombers, are in the category of foot soldiers," Blair said.
Authorities in Pakistan were looking into a connection between one of the London bombers and two Al Qaeda-linked militant groups in Pakistan, including a man arrested for a 2002 attack on a church near the U.S. Embassy, two senior intelligence officials said.
The investigation is focusing on at least one trip that 22-year-old Shahzad Tanweer made to Pakistan in the past year, said the officials, who work at two separate intelligence agencies and are involved in the investigation. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the secretive nature of their jobs.
One of the officials said that while in Pakistan, Tanweer is believed to have visited a radical religious school run by the banned Sunni Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (search).
The sprawling school in Muridke, 20 miles north of the eastern city of Lahore, has a reputation for hostility. Journalists who have traveled to the school in the past have been threatened and prevented from entering. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba was banned by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf (search) for alleged links to a 2001 attack on India's Parliament.
ABC News, citing unidentified officials, reported that the attacks were connected to an Al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in Lahore, Pakistan. Names on a computer that authorities seized last year from Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan (search), an alleged Pakistani computer expert for Al Qaeda, matched a suspected cell of young Britons of Pakistani origin, most of whom lived near Luton, where the alleged bombers met up on their way to London shortly before last week's blasts, according to the report.
Authorities have now discovered ties between Mohammed Sidique Khan — one of the July 7 bombers — and members of that cell who were arrested last year, ABC said.
In another international development in the inquiry, Jamaica's government said it was investigating a Jamaican-born Briton as one of the bombers.
At a news conference Thursday, police released closed-circuit TV video showing one of the four bombers — 18-year-old Hasib Hussain — wearing a backpack as he passed through Luton train station north of London on his way to the capital.
Hussain allegedly set off the bomb that killed 14 people aboard the bus. That blast occurred nearly an hour after three London Underground trains blew up, and investigators don't yet know what Hussain did during that hour or when he boarded the bus.
Trying to map out Hussain's movements, police appealed for information from anyone who may have seen him in or around King's Cross station, where the four parted ways. They released a closed-circuit television image showing him wearing a large camping-style backpack as he strode through a train station in Luton.
The men traveled together from Luton to King's Cross just before the blasts, police said.
Police officially identified two of the bombers Thursday — Hussain and Tanweer, whom they say attacked a subway train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations.
Both were Britons of Pakistani ancestry, as was 30-year-old Mohammed Sidique Khan. Reports say the fourth attacker was Germaine.
Jamaican Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Wilton Dyer said officials were waiting for Britain to confirm the identity of the suspect before they could help in identifying his possible origins in Jamaica.
FOX News' Catherine Herridge, Sky News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.