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UK boy wrongly labelled as bomber

BBC | July 21 2005

Evidence showing that all three of the London bombers of Pakistani descent visited Pakistan last year has been thrown into doubt.

A photograph of a passport purporting to show bomber Hasib Hussain was in fact that of a 16-year-old British boy with the same name.

The photo, together with documentation showing two other bombers visited Pakistan, was published on Monday.

Pakistan, meanwhile, says it has made no arrests over the London bombs.

'I was terrified'

The passport details supposedly of the bomber Hasib Hussain are actually those of a teenage boy living in High Wycombe, approximately 30 miles (50km) north-west of London.

On Monday Pakistan's Federal Immigration Agency (FIA) said that Hasib Hussain, carrying a British passport number, arrived in the port city of Karachi from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on 15 July 2004.

Photographs of the passport were published in Pakistan and then around the world.

However, the 16-year-old at the heart of the confusion has now been interviewed at his High Wycombe home by Pakistani TV station ARY.

"I first saw my photograph on Channel 4 [news] and I was terrified," the boy told ARY.

"I didn't want people looking at me saying, hey, you are supposed to be dead," he told ARY, "or someone saying that there goes the London bomber."

His father told ARY that the family had indeed arrived in Karachi from Saudi Arabia. He appealed for British and Pakistani authorities to clear up the confusion.

When contacted by the BBC News website the FIA said: "We have nothing to say on the matter at this stage."

Reports denied

According to the other information released by Pakistan on Monday, the bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer arrived and left Pakistan together and spent three months in the country.

The three bombers were among the 56 people killed in the London blasts.

Police have confirmed they were the UK's first suicide bombings.

The fourth bomber was a Jamaican-born Briton, Germaine Lindsay, 19.

More than 200 people in Pakistan have been arrested in recent days in a clampdown called by President Pervez Musharraf.

But the authorities are denying reports that a British Muslim al-Qaeda suspect, Haroon Rashid Aswad, is among them.

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