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Police missed a string of opportunities to intercept four terrorists months before the botched suicide bomb attacks on July 21, it became clear last night.[...]
Muktar Ibrahim, 29, the leader of the suicide gang, was seen by officers on at least four occasions before the bombings, Woolwich Crown Court had heard and was on bail after being arrested on suspicion of extremism.
In May 2004, police watched all four bombers on a camping trip at a farm in Langdale in the Lake District running up and down carrying rucksacks. In October the same year, Ibrahim was arrested by police for breach of the peace while handing out extremist literature in Oxford Street.
He jumped bail and a letter was sent to his flat saying: "Come to us before we come to you."
In December, Ibrahim was stopped by Special Branch officers at Heathrow airport before boarding a flight to Pakistan. They found his luggage included cold weather clothing, a sleeping bag and a video camera along with £2,000 in cash. One of his companions had £2,200, a military first aid kit and a manual on how to deal with ballistic injuries.
A Port Stop Request form recording the incident was filled in but the three men were allowed to go on their way.