Two of the men arrested in connection with car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow had links to a hospital in Cambridge, it was reported today.
Dr Mohammed Asha, 26, who was arrested with his wife on the M6 motorway, worked on placement at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the city.
A second suspect, Dr Bilal Abdullah, who has been named as one of two men who drove a flaming Jeep loaded with gas canisters into the arrivals hall at Glasgow Airport, also lived in the city and worked at the hospital on placement, it was reported.
Dr Abdullah, who trained as a doctor in Iraq, stayed in Cambridge for short periods in 2001 and 2004.
Electoral records show that he stayed at the home of a kebab shop owner, according to the Times.
A neighbour told the paper that the family were hardline Muslims who worshipped in a prayer room above the shop rather than the local mosque.
In 2001, when Dr Abdullah first lived in the city, he rented a room in a house owned by the Cambridge Muslim Welfare Society, a community group operating out of a local mosque.
Addenbrooke’s said it would make no comment on reports that the two doctors had been employed at the hospital.
It issued a statement saying it would co-operate with investigators.
“This matter of national security is under police investigation,” said a spokeswoman.
“As such we are not in a position to comment.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a review of how NHS doctors are recruited from overseas after it was revealed that the eight people being held over the failed car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow all have links to the health service.
Five men have links to the health service, either as doctors or trainee doctors, while the sixth person, Dr Asha’s wife, Marwa Asha, is a laboratory researcher.
Another doctor is being quizzed by officers in Australia, while the eighth person remains in a critical condition in hospital in Glasgow with severe burns.
The health service has been left reeling by the rapidly emerging details of an apparent NHS terror cell, seemingly working in their midst.
Last night the national terror threat level was reduced from critical to severe by the Joint Terrorism and Analysis Centre (JTAC) for the first time since the failed attacks.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who announced the reduction, said there was “no intelligence” to indicate terrorists were about to strike again but told the public to stay alert.
She said: “There is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is expected imminently. However, the reduction of the threat level to severe does not mean the overall threat has gone away.
“There remains a serious and real threat against the United Kingdom and I would again ask that the public remain vigilant.”
The JTAC had made its decision based on the “very latest intelligence” and had considered various factors including capability, intent and timescale, she added.
A severe threat level means an attack is highly likely, compared with critical, which indicates an attack is expected imminently.
Detectives are still questioning six people at Paddington Green police station in central London in connection with last week’s attacks.
Among those held at Paddington Green is Dr Sabeel Ahmed, 26, who was arrested in the Lime Street area of Liverpool on Saturday.
Dr Ahmed studied at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, in Bangalore, India, where his family said he was innocent, with no links to terrorism.
It has emerged that he is a relative and childhood friend of Dr Mohammed Haneef, 27, who studied at the same university.
Dr Haneef is being held in Brisbane, Australia, after he was stopped as he attempted to fly to India by police acting on a tip-off from their UK colleagues.
His mother said he was travelling home to see his newborn baby daughter. Speaking in Bangalore, she said: “He has been detained unnecessarily. He is innocent.”
A British counter-terrorism expert has arrived in Brisbane to question the doctor.
British authorities requested that her identity not be released to the media, an Australian Federal Police spokesman said.
Police have until late today to charge Dr Haneef, release him or seek a detention extension.
A huge police operation is ongoing as officers try to piece together the details of the attempted attacks, first in the heart of London’s West End and then at Glasgow Airport.
One line of inquiry is that the two men who drove the flaming Jeep into the arrivals hall were the same people who left the Mercedes bombs in the capital.
Neighbours reported spotting a Mercedes, as well as several other cars, outside the rented property in Houston, near Glasgow, where the men lived.
Mobile phones left in the two Mercedes cars are believed to have proved vital in tracking down the men and their acquaintances so quickly.
The phones are understood to have been intended to act as remote detonators, but the plan did not work.
It has been revealed that some of the eight suspects were known to MI5 through links with others under surveillance.