Birmingham police carried out controlled explosions Saturday night in the central district, on a bus and in Chinatown following credible intelligence alert.

First, they evacuated tens of thousands from the entertainment center of Britain’s second largest city, two days after terrorist bombings killed some 50 Londoners.

July 10, 2005, 12:59 AM (GMT+02:00)

Earlier, DEBKAfile reported: British and al Qaeda go into hush mode.

Forty-eight hours after al Qaeda’s coordinated bomb attacks on London transport, only two unauthenticated claim of responsibility have come from al Qaeda, the latest Saturday, July 9. Their secret internal communications networks are silent. The British authorities are likewise being frugal with information in order to keep the most extensive forensic investigation they have ever undertaken as dark as possible.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources say the silence of al Qaeda’s internal communications is unusual. Even in cases when al Qaeda was not directly responsible, its Web sites usually kept the mujaheddin abreast on “the warfronts against the infidels.” This ominous hush has raised the fears of British security officials that the terrorists are keeping their heads down for follow-up operations in London or other parts of the United Kingdom. They are therefore holding tight to any information they may have garnered.

The head of the British anti-terrorist branch Andy Hayman revealed only that the devices used in the four blasts were a relatively small 4.5 kilos of high explosives in bags. Other details of the probe, including the names of the dead and missing – or even their numbers, are withheld. This has left hundreds of anguished relatives hunting for information. Our experts explain that many of the missing people belong to Muslim families. It is possible that without their families’ knowledge, the perpetrators or their accomplices may be among them. In the war of intelligence now at its peak, the investigators will not give out the extent of their knowledge to the enemy.

The British anti-terror branch has turned for collaboration to foreign agencies in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. A Spanish team is due in London with expertise gained from last year’s Madrid bombings. Israel offered to share its specialized knowledge immediately after the attack.