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Suspect in failed bombing denied bail in London court

LONDON -- It was a busy day in Britain's crackdown on terrorism: A suspect in failed bomb attacks on the London transit system appeared in court. A Muslim convert was sentenced to 15 years in a separate case. And police arrested a man near planes at Manchester airport and exploded his suitcase.

Also, the wife of one of the four suspected July 7 suicide bombers said in an interview published yesterday that her late husband was a ''naive" man whose mind was poisoned by his contacts with Britain's radical mosques.

A day after his extradition from Italy, Ethiopian-born Hussain Osman, charged in the July 21 attempt to bomb the London Underground, made his first appearance at the high-security court at Belmarsh prison.

Osman, also known as Hamdi Isaac, seemed calm as he stood behind thick glass, guarded by four bailiffs He spoke briefly, confirming his name and saying that he understood the proceedings. A magistrate denied Osman's bail application and set his next court appearance for Dec. 8.

The hearing came after Osman lost a two-month legal battle to avoid extradition from Italy to face British charges including conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and possession of explosives. He was flown to London on Thursday.

Osman allegedly fled to Italy in the days after the bombings and was arrested in Rome. He has said through his lawyer that the bombing attempt was meant to scare people, not kill them.

Osman is believed to have been the man captured on closed-circuit television footage attempting to bomb the Shepherd's Bush subway station July 21. Three other men -- Ibrahim Muktar Said, 27, Ramzi Mohamed, 23, and Yassin Omar, 24, all from London -- are in jail awaiting a November court appearance.

No one was killed in the four near-simultaneous attempted attacks, which came two weeks after the July 7 blasts that killed 56 people, including the bombers.

As that case got started, another came to a close.

In London, a court convicted Andrew Rowe, 34, of having a notebook containing details on how to fire a mortar and a code that could be used to communicate about potential terror targets. Justice Adrian Fulford sentenced Rowe to consecutive sentences of 7 1/2 years on each of two counts.

Rowe, a convert to Islam, was arrested in October 2003 near the tunnel that runs under the English Channel, connecting Britain and France.

Prosecutors said traces of high explosives were found on a pair of socks in his luggage on the French side of the Chunnel, but they did not link him to a specific terrorist plot.

In the Manchester airport arrest, an unidentified man was seen carrying a suitcase and walking under a plane, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported. A bomb squad later carried out a controlled explosion of the suitcase, which turned out to contain only clothing, papers, and a passport, police said.

Police initially detained the man under antiterrorism legislation, but a spokesman said later that his status had changed and he was now being held under the Mental Health Act.

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