LONDON - Western intelligence sources tell NBC News that three of the suspects in the London bombing plot, including one of the suspected bombers, have U.S. connections. These sources also say authorities are now back to believing that the explosive material was homemade — similar to that found in the shoe of the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.
Police sources say an apartment in a Leeds building served as the bomb making factory and that the suspected bomb maker is Egyptian born biochemist Magdy el-Nashar, who may have made the explosives in the bathtub.
“This has been and still is a fast moving investigation, with new leads emerging, literally, by the hour,” says Peter Clarke, of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch.
Nashar has a U.S. connection. He studied for five months at North Carolina State University in 2000. More recently, he's been a student and lecturer at Leeds University, where he received a doctorate in May. Authorities say Nashar is believed to have left Britain just before the attacks.
Intelligence sources say also being sought Thursday is a British-born Pakistani with alleged al-Qaida connections. Authorities say he too has visited the U.S. and is believed to have arrived in Britain just not long before the attacks by ferry .
The third U.S. connection is a suspectedbomber — Jermaine Maurice Lindsay. Sources say his mother lived in the Cleveland area and that he visited her several times.
Thursday, police released the first pictures of suspected bus bomber, Habib Hussein, wearing the backpack they say he stuffed with explosives. Investigators appealed for help in tracking his movements that day.
"Did you see this man at King's Cross?" asked Scotland Yard's Peter Clark while showing a photo of Hussein. "Was he alone or with others?"
Thursday, George Psaradakias, the driver of the No. 30 Bus, praised British resolve, saying, "We show our deep contempt for those who planted the bombs and those who masterminded them.”
Showing their resolve, thousands of Londoners turned out Thursday night for a vigil.
Intelligence officials say the evidence, so far, indicates this plot was hatched in Pakistan and has a clear link to al-Qaida, but that does not prove that al Qaida actually planned or ordered the attack.
The FBI is busy running dozens of names sent by the British to see if they have terrorist connections. And active FBI investigations are under way in Cleveland and Raleigh, N.C. The FBI already has obtained documents from the Raleigh landlord who leased an apartment to the alleged bomb maker.