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Police chief ‘regrets’ London shooting

Ian Blair defends policy of killing suspected suicide bombers

LONDON,
England (CNN) — London’s top police official says he regrets the death
of a Brazilian national shot and killed by armed officers in a subway
station but defends the policy of shooting to kill suspected suicide
bombers.

“To the family, I can only offer our deepest regrets,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said Sunday.

“I
think we are quite comfortable that the policy is right, but of course
these are fantastically difficult times,” Blair told Sky Television.

“It’s
still happening out there, there are still officers having to make
those calls as we speak, he said, adding: “Somebody else could be shot.”

Police
said on Saturday said Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, “was not connected”
with Thursday’s attempted bombings on London’s transit system.

Hours after the shooting, Blair said the shooting was “directly linked to the ongoing and expanding anti-terrorist operation.”

A
cousin of Menezes, Alex Alves Pereira, said his family was upset and
angry over the death, and he challenged police statements that he
failed to obey orders, and jumped a ticket barrier at the Stockwell
Underground station in south London.

Menezes, who had lived in
Britain about four years, had a multiple-day pass, and had no reason to
jump the barrier, Pereira said. He added that no amount of apologizing
by police will bring his cousin back.

“When you do something wrong, you can’t have nothing to say — to say sorry is not enough.”

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim arrived in London Sunday for a scheduled United Nations conference.

Amorim has asked to meet with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw or another high-level official to discuss the shooting.

Menezes
emerged from a house in Tulse Hill Friday morning, which had been under
surveillance as part of the investigation into the attempted bombings.
He reportedly was wearing a heavy coat.

Officers followed him to
the Underground station. His “clothing and suspicious behavior at the
station added to their suspicions,” a police statement said.

Police
said Menezes was challenged by officers and refused to obey orders,
before he was shot and killed in front of horrified commuters.

London
has been on a heightened state of alert since July 7, when four bombs
placed on three subway trains and a double-decker bus killed 52 people
and the four bombers.

In what appeared to be an attempt at a
copycat attack two weeks later, four bombs were placed on three trains
and a double-decker bus, but police said they only partially detonated.
Only one person was wounded.

Police carried out an armed raid
Saturday in south London, the latest in a series of sweeps across the
city in connection with Thursday’s failed bombing.

One man was
taken into custody in Brixton after he approached a police barrier
during the raid, authorities said. Police asked him his name, he
responded, and police asked him to come under the tape barrier. Once he
did, he was handcuffed. His connection to the probe, if any, was
unclear.

Two men were arrested Friday in Stockwell for questioning. They have not been identified.

Police
urge Londoners to help locate the four wanted men, whose images were
captured Thursday on closed circuit television cameras near the bombing
sites. The images were released by police Friday. (Full story)

A
police statement asked people to store the anti-terror hotline — 0800
789 321 — on their mobile phones, or dial 999 “if any member of the
public knows where these men are now, or sees them.”

“They should not be approached,” the statement said.

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