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Jordanian doctor held in U.K. bombing probe

A Jordanian medical doctor Mohammed Jamil Abdelqader Asha has been identified as a suspect in the British terror plot, his family told NBC News on Monday.
/ Source: NBC News

A Jordanian medical doctor, Mohammed Jamil Abdelqader Asha, has been identified as a suspect in the U.K. terror plot, according to British police sources.

Asha and a 27-year-old woman – believed to be his wife, Marwah – were arrested by British police on a highway near Cheshire, England over the weekend.

Police sources confirmed that Asha is one of seven people currently in police custody. He has not been charged with any crimes, but police have been searching his home in Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, north of London.

British police have arrested five other suspects while conducting raids across a country on its highest level of alert since two car bombs failed to explode in central London on Friday and two men rammed a Jeep Cherokee into the Glasgow airport's entrance the following day.

A British government security official said a loose U.K.-wide network appeared to be behind the attacks but investigators were struggling to pin down suspects' identities.

Family says not terrorism connection
Asha left Jordan for England about two years ago in order to work and to further his education, his family told NBC News in Amman, Jordan. They said that Jordanian security officials have been interviewing Asha’s brother in an effort to assist British officials in their rapidly evolving investigation.

A photograph of Asha, obtained by NBC News, shows a slender, bearded man in his university days.

His relatives say that they do not believe Asha would ever be involved with terrorists or any extremist group. They describe him as serious, smart, professional and a bit of a loner. They say he is a devout Muslim, and deny he has any terrorism connections or inclinations.

In Jordan, his brother Ahmed told The Associated Press he had heard the media reports and said his 26-year-old sibling "is not a Muslim extremist, and he's not a fanatic."

"It's nonsense because he has no terror connections," he said.

Asha's family said that his wife, Marwah, is a university-trained lab technician, and that they have a 1 1/2-year-old son.

A local doctor
Asha graduated from the Jordanian University medical school in 2004. He registered in 2005 with the General Medical Council, the British medical-doctor registry, according to the GMC's official Web site.

He has been working as a physician at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent, according to local media reports.

Scotland Yard has still not officially released any suspects' names. Police in Britain often withhold the name of those arrested in terrorism-related cases.

Asha's family said that he was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Jordan. His family, they say, is Palestinian.