British Authorities Fear Rise of Medical Terrorists

LONDON – Background checks on the eight suspects in the London and Glasgow attacks last month have British authorities worried about a new class of terrorists: the medical elite.

On June 29, 27-year-old Bilal Abdullah attempted to set off a pair of car bombs in London that turned out to be duds. The next day, he and Kafeel Ahmed crashed a Jeep Cherokee into a Glasgow airport terminal, where Abdullah allegedly doused himself in flammable liquid and lit himself on fire. He has not yet been questioned. Authorities remain uncertain if Abdullah merely wanted to emulate al-Qaeda or was working as part of a larger operation.

Abdullah was born in England before his family returned to Baghdad. Prominent Sunnis, they enjoyed good connections with Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government. Abdullah’s father sent him to medical school, which a relative claims he passed because of his father’s good reputation as a professor. When the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003, the family lost much of their former prosperity.

In 2004, Abdullah returned to England, where he met conservative Indian Muslim Kafeel Ahmed. The two were also acquainted with suspect Mohammed Asha. An allegedly brilliant medical student, Asha had a perfect 4.0 and the third highest academic ranking in Jordan.

Of the eight suspects apprehended, seven are physicians and one is a medical technician. Other terrorists with M.D.s include Osama bin Laden’s ally Ayman al-Zawahiri and the Haitian Papa Doc Duvalier.

So far, FBI officials have not predicted an imminent attack on U.S. soil. However, British and German authorities are more nervous. Last month, a video surfaced claiming to show a Taliban leader sending squads of suicide bombers to Germany, Britain, Canada and the United States. Pakistani authorities also arrested two German citizens at the Iran border believed to be heading to Afghanistan to train for attacks on the West.

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