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UK blast mastermind sold CDs in Johannesburg

August 02, 2005 21:12 IST

Haroon Rashid Aswat, believed to be the mastermind behind the July 7 London bombings that killed 56 people, made his living by selling compact discs in downtown Johannesburg and was known in his neighbourhood as a 'nice family man.'

Aswat, who made his living selling Islamic cds and dvds at fleamarkets around Johannesburg in South Africa and in neighbouring countries, never expressed any interest in radical Islam, 'The Star' daily quoted Aswat's business associate as saying.

Zambian police confirmed they were holding Aswat, who was arrested on July 20 in Lusaka. Zambia's interior minister had on Monday signed a document handing over his custody to Britain, the daily said.

Also read: The London Blasts

Ahmed Al Arine, a refugee from Jordan seeking asylum in South Africa, said he had helped Aswat sell cds at Fordsburg Square and was shocked by the allegations levelled against him, the daily reported.

Arine described Aswat as 'very secretive but a very nice person' and added that he had never expressed any interest in radical Islam in the 5 months he had known the alleged bomber. Asked if Aswat had ever spoken to him about al-Qaeda or radical Islamic issues, Al Arine said, "Never. He didn't speak about these things."


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