The Costs

Britain Says Man Killed by Police Had No Tie to Bombings

Scotland Yard admitted Saturday that a man police officers chased and shot to death at point-blank range in front of horrified subway passengers on Friday had nothing to do with the investigation into the bombing attacks here.

Senior investigators and officials of the Metropolitan Police said the man was believed to be South American; it was not known whether he was Muslim. No explosives or weapons were found on the man’s body after the shooting, police officials said.

The incident sent shock waves through the country’s 1.6 million Muslims, already alarmed by a publicly acknowledged shoot-to-kill policy directed against suspected suicide bombers. And it has dealt a major setback to the police investigation into suspected terrorist cells in London.

“This really is an appalling set of circumstances,” said John O’Connor, a former police commander. “The consequences are quite horrible.”

Azzam Tamimi, head of the Muslim Association of Britain, said: “This is very frightening. People will be afraid to walk the streets, or go on the tube, or carry anything in their hands.”

I’m actually surprised that there hasn’t been more incidents like this. The police have got to be under extreme pressure to find those responsible for the recent bombing attempts. Combating terrorism is tough business. It’s a no win situation for the authorities. When you press hard, mistakes are bound to happen. If you delay, another incident could occur.

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