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Cousin listened to boasts about suicide mission

Cousin listened to boasts about suicide mission

Author: Daniel McGrory, and Zahid Hussain in Islamabad
Publication: Times
Date: July 22, 2005
URL: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22989-1704235,00.html

On His last visit to relatives in Pakistan this year, one of the London bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, boasted of wanting to die in a revenge attack over the way Muslims are treated.

While his family in Leeds had no idea about his suicide mission, Tanweer confessed to his cousin his ambition to become a "holy warrior". At his father's home village 30 miles from Faisalabad, Mohammad Saleem described yesterday how Tanweer, 22, hero-worshipped Osama bin Laden.

Mr Saleem supported his cousin's bombing at Aldgate station which killed seven people, saying: "Whatever he has done, if he has done it, then he has done right." He recalled how Tanweer argued with family and friends about the need for violent retaliation over US abuse of Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

Tanweer was no stranger to the village of Chak No 477, where his grandfather and several cousins live. During his last trip, the college dropout was visited by another of the bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan. They are said to have met a known al-Qaeda activist who has since been jailed for bombing a church. "Whenever he would listen about sufferings of Muslims he would become very emotional and sentimental," Mr Saleem said. "He was a good Muslim . . . he also wished to take part in jihad and lay down his life.

"He knew that excesses are being done to Muslims. Incidents like desecration of the Koran have always been in his mind."

His uncle, Tahir Pervaiz, told the Pakistani daily Dawn: "Osama bin Laden was Shehzad's ideal and he used to discuss the man with his cousins and friends in the village."

After Tanweer's death, more than 2,000 villagers turned out to pray for him.

A day after intelligence officials in Islamabad claimed to have seized Haroon Rashid Aswat, the Yorkshire-born al-Qaeda veteran, Mark Lyall-Grant, the British High Commissioner, said that nobody had been arrested in Pakistan "related to the London bombings".

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