TERROR police yesterday warned more arrests will be made over the July 7 suicide bombings in London after three men from Yorkshire were charged over their alleged links to the atrocity.
The three are the first to face the courts over the attacks 21 months after the four blasts which killed 52 innocent people.
Mohammed Shakil, 30, Sadeer Saleem, 26, and Waheed Ali, 23, all from Beeston, Leeds, are accused of conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.
Yesterday detectives said the investigation was ongoing and made a special plea to anyone with information, particularly from West Yorkshire, to come forward.
Scotland Yard’s head of counter terrorism Peter Clarke said it was “highly likely” there would be more arrests.
The three charged yesterday allegedly conspired with the four men who detonated rucksack bombs on three London Tube trains and a bus on July 7 2005 – Mohammed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Germaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussain.
Police said the alleged targets of the conspiracy were the Transport for London system “and/or tourist attractions in London” although they did not specify which these were.
The three are from the Beeston area, where three of the July 7 bombers had strong connections. However Ali, who until recently was known as Shipon Ullah, has been living in Tower Hamlets, east London.
Shakil, a taxi driver, of Firth Mount; Saleem, of Rowland Place; and Ullah, formerly of Colwyn Road, all in Beeston, will appear before City of Westminster magistrates in London tomorrow.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Clarke said he knew “for a fact” that there were others with knowledge of the attacks who were still at large. He warned that it was only a “matter of time” before the police uncovered the full truth about the suicide bombings.
In a statement, he said: “I only wish that I could share with you the extent of what we have discovered – but I cannot.
“That must wait for the trial of those who have been charged or any others who may be charged in the future.
“So the detail of the evidence must wait, but it’s probably fair to describe it as a complicated jigsaw with thousands of pieces.
“We now have enough of the pieces in the right places for us to see the picture but it is far from complete.
“Because of that, the search is not over.
“I firmly believe that there are other people who have knowledge of what lay behind the attack in July 2005 – knowledge that they have not shared with us. In fact I don’t only believe it, I know it for a fact.”
He added: “I have a simple appeal to make today. It is for those people who have information and who have not yet spoken to us, mainly in the West Yorkshire area, to come forward. I do understand that some of you will have real concerns about the consequences of telling us what you know.
“I also know that some of you have been actively dissuaded from speaking to us. Surely this must stop.
“The victims of the attacks and those who will become victims of terrorism in the future deserve your co-operation and support.”
Mr Clarke said police still needed information about the four suicide bombers and about the three charged yesterday.
He added: “We need to know about their movements, meetings and travel.
“Who did they meet? Where did they go? But as well as this who else knew about what was happening?
“We will find out. It is only a matter of time. It is highly likely that in due course there will be further arrests.”
Sue Hemming, head of the Counter Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service, said of the three men charged: “The allegation is that they were involved in reconnaissance and planning for a plot with those ultimately responsible for the bombings on July 7 before the plan was finalised.”
Two of the men were arrested at Manchester Airport when they were due to catch a flight to Pakistan, while the third was arrested in Leeds.
Mr Clarke said the charges followed 21 months of “intense investigation” by the Metropolitan Police and West Yorkshire Police.
“I appreciate that bringing these charges will have an impact on many people,” he said.
“For some it will bring back horrible memories of that terrible day. For others there may be some relief that after such a length of time there is some visible progress in an investigation that has had to be kept secret.”
More than 15,000 statements had been taken and 19,000 leads followed.
The search for “every tiny detail” had been “relentless”, he added.