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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Neighbours' shock at bomber raids
Miranda Arieh and Janet Clipsham
Evacuees Miranda Arieh and Janet Clipsham appealed for tolerance
People evacuated from homes in Leeds during police raids in the city have told of their shock that the London bombers may have lived among them.

Some of the 600 people evacuated from the Burley area spoke to BBC News at the Kirkstall Leisure Centre, set up by the council as temporary accommodation.

Libyan student Muataz Elaoud, 27, of Hyde Park Road, arrived in Britain just five days ago to study English.

"It is not a good start, this has made me feel very uncomfortable," he said.

Hundreds of people were cleared from their homes in the area, as well as a mosque, a health centre and an old people's home, following a series of armed raids at houses across Leeds.

Muataz Elaoud
Muataz Elaoud arrived in the UK the day after the bombings
Police have since said that three of the four people they suspect of carrying out last Thursday's bombings were from West Yorkshire.

They caught a train to the capital before, with a fourth man, carrying out the attacks, police believe.

It is suspected that all four died.

Mr Elaoud was one of just a dozen locals who had taken up the city council's offer of food and shelter at the leisure centre early on Tuesday evening.

Council officers said the centre would remain open until further notice from the police.

Mr Elaoud said: "This has come as a big surprise, especially in Leeds, because I thought it was quieter than other cities."

He said he had been moved out of his flat so quickly by police that he had no time to even pick up his mobile phone, so had been unable to contact friends or family.

"I don't know what I'm going to do tonight. Maybe stay here [at the leisure centre] or try to find a hotel."

'Living in fear'

Miranda Rose, 21, an artist, said the Burley area was multi-racial and usually very tolerant and peaceful.

"There are mainly Asians living there but there are also people from eastern Europe and America.

"I don't blame any single community. I am disgusted with the government.

"If it was not for Tony Blair and George Bush going to war in Iraq we would not be living in fear here now."

Myo Aung
Myo Aung said he fled in terror down the street
Janet Clipsham, of Howden Gardens, said: "We do not want to tarnish people from different communities with the same brush.

"I've lived there for years next to people from all parts of the world and all religions and they are generally very decent, law-abiding people."

Unemployed 41-year-old Myo Aung, from Burma, said he was terrified when police told him to get out of his Kelsall Grove flat.

"The police came to my door and started knocking, knocking, and told me to get out for my own safety.

"I didn't know what was happening. I asked them why they were there and they just told me to get out."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Local residents give their opinions on the 'bombers'




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