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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 18:43 GMT 19:43 UK
Bomb suspect 'from wealthy family'
Omar Khan Sharif
Omar was known as a polite child
Omar Khan Sharif, the Briton who Israeli police say tried to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, is the son of a successful businessman.

The 27-year-old, who is married with two daughters, lives in a terraced house just a few hundred yards from his large semi-detached childhood home in Derby.

His parents, from Mirpur, in Kashmir, are popular, well-respected and wealthy, according to neighbours in the predominantly Muslim suburb of Normanton.

Mr Sharif's father, Sardar Mohammed Sharif, ran a string of successful businesses, including several takeaways and a launderette, and opened the area's first kebab shop.

Omar Sharif, who is one of six siblings, was known in the local area as a polite child.

'Good father'

He attended Firs Estate Primary School in the city, before moving to the fee-paying Repton Preparatory School, in Milton, south Derbyshire, in 1986.

In 1988 he moved to a state comprehensive - Benrose Community School - but left after a year to be educated elsewhere.

A former school friend described Mr Sharif as "a kind man and good father".

Recently it seemed he was becoming more religious than usual

Neighbour Waseem Raza

Neighbour Waseem Raza said he had known the family since moving to the area 13 years ago, but Mr Sharif's parents were now both dead.

"His father died about eight years ago and his mother, who was a kind woman, about three years ago," he said.

"Omar was always very devoted to his faith - but when he was younger no-one thought of him as a radical or an extremist."

Mr Sharif met his Middle Eastern wife while studying for a degree at London University.

When he returned to Derby he had changed, according to Mr Raza.

"He grew a small beard and began wearing Arabic-style clothes.

"I still used to see him because he only lived round the corner and recently it seemed he was becoming more religious than usual."

Mr Sharif is thought to have visited the Middle East earlier this year, but neighbours said he was in the Normanton area last week, just days before the suicide bomb attack.

Israel and the Palestinians



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Hunt for British bomb suspect
01 May 03  |  Middle East
Bombing claims a surprise to Derby
01 May 03  |  England

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