EXCLUSIVE:There was a scuffle.. the man grabbed at an officer's gun. It fired
By Lucy Panton and Ryan Sabey
THE News of the World has uncovered sensational details of the anti-terror raid which ended with one of the chemical bomb suspects shot.
After smashing their way into the Kalam brothers' East London home at 4.10am on Friday two armed police officers rushed up the stairs to seize the two men.
Security sources say the cops were confronted by the Muslim brothers, who were trying to run down the steps, and a scuffle broke out.
This is understood to have climaxed with 20-year-old Abdul Koyair making a grab for a police firearm, which already had its safety catch off.
In the desperate struggle that followed, the gun was fired and the bullet hit 23-year-old mail worker Abdul Kahar in the shoulder.
We can also reveal how police:
FEAR the explosive device they are hunting is designed to spray out deadly cyanide,
TESTED the gun for DNA evidence to confirm who fired the shot,
SEARCHED the brothers' workplaces for clues, and
DISCOVERED the men were planning a long-haul trip abroad for this weekend.
Initial reports assumed Kahar had been wounded by one of the officers.
But last night, as he lay under arrest and armed guard in the Royal London Hospital, cops were banking on the results of DNA tests from the weapon pointing the finger firmly at his brother.
Today we publish the first exclusive picture of the injured suspect and unveil how initial investigations centering on the trajectory of the bullet indicated that the officer did NOT pull the trigger.
Officials from the Independent Police Complaints Commission measured the angle of impact into the suspect's shoulder and also noted the spot where the officers stood at the time of firing.
A highly-placed Whitehall source told us: "We understand the officers are adamant that they did not pull the trigger and have told bosses at Scotland Yard the DNA evidence will prove this.
"They are confident that this is not another Jean Charles de Menezes situation (the Brazilian shot in error by anti-terror cops on the London Underground) and that they are in the clear."
The brothers are being held under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of being "concerned in the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism".
If the evidence proves that Tesco worker Koyair fired the weapon he could face charges of attempting to shoot a police officer.
The massive 300-strong force of specialist firearms officers and anti-terror cops—codenamed Operation Volga—swooped on the brothers' terraced house in Lansdown Road, Forest Gate, after "firm intelligence" from MI5 that terrorists were constructing a device laced with killer cyanide gas.
Cyanide can kill within seconds and a concentrated toxic cloud released over a wide area would have devastating consequences.
The threat was regarded as so serious that Dame Eliza Manningham-Butler, director general of MI5, personally informed Tony Blair and Home Secretary John Reid in advance of the operation. Expert scientists were called in to study a drawing obtained by the intelligence services and within days the raid was on.
We can also reveal that security services had been tipped off about a possible stash of firearms at the house along with the chemical bomb—at first thought to be a kind of vest or waistcoat, "primed and ready to go".
But incredibly, the hunt for the device had to be delayed after the shooting so that the police complaints investigation could take precedence at the scene.
That initial assessment took over FIVE HOURS before bio-chemical experts were finally allowed into the building at 9.30am.
The Porton Down specialists, along with health officials, then spent the rest of the day making the scene safe before forensic search officers were allowed in. Scotland Yard's search teams, in white forensic suits, were finally let in to begin hunting the bomb in the early hours of yesterday.
A doctor was on hand to administer an antidote to emergency service staff should anyone have come into contact with deadly gas.
Meanwhile other officers were trying to work out possible targets for the suspected plot.
One line of inquiry was that the gas was to be released in a busy and enclosed shopping centre, which mirrors the current plotline in the Sky hit drama 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland.
The specialist officers searching the house have constructed scaffolding inside so they can probe wall cavities and the loft. They also plan to dig up the garden.
A security source said: "The intelligence suggested the property could have a number of hidey-holes where the device could have been stored.
"Right from the start we weren't taking any chances because our information indicated this device was primed and ready to go.
"It was a serious public safety issue."
Operation Volga spawned a series of other raids across the capital yesterday.
A statement from Scotland Yard last night said: "Anti-Terrorist Branch officers this afternoon have searched business premises in Tottenham and Whitechapel, where the two men arrested yesterday are employed. The searches have been carried out with the full co-operation of their employers."
The News of the World can reveal that the brothers' house was also raided two weeks ago—by bailiffs.
Although this was sparked by unpaid bills, insiders insist they were flush with money and planning to jet off on an expensive family holiday to the luxury island of Mauritius yesterday.
At least 10 people were living in the house including six men, three women and a child.
Some of them are believed to be relatives and were going on the Mauritius trip with the brothers.
A close friend said yesterday: "The boys' parents telephoned cops to ask if they could see one of the brothers—because they still planned to go on the holiday.
"They even asked if officers could retrieve their suitcases from the house as they needed them."
Sources have revealed that even before this week the brothers were well known to the police.
A neighbour, security engineer Ashish Khetani, 19, told us that there had been a number of violent incidents outside the house in recent years.
"There always used to be fights there," he said. One night one of the family got bottled over the head and the cops had to be called."
Last night Koyair was still being quizzed at Paddington Green police station, after the authorities were granted warrants by Bow Street Magistrates allowing the brothers to be held until Wednesday without charge.
Outside, wounded brother Kahar's solicitor Kate Roxburgh said that her client denied being involved in terrorism. "He has no involvement at all," she said. "He was woken up about 4am by screams downstairs. He got out of bed in his pyjamas, obviously unarmed, and began hurrying downstairs.
"As he came towards a bend in the stairway the police turned their gun up towards him and shot him without any warning at all."
Other members of the brothers' family who were rounded up in the swoop last night hinted they may sue police over their treatment. In a statement they said: "We would like to make it clear that we are completely innocent and in no way involved in any terrorist activity.
"However, we would like to express our deep shock and anger at the operation that took place.
"We were assaulted and detained for 12 hours. We're currently liaising with our legal team on the course of action to take."
But police on the street said last night that they were pleased with the cooperation they were receiving from the local community.
They described how neighbours were handing out tea and coffee to officers.
They admitted there was a natural hunger to know what was going on but denied there was any tension.