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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK
Terror enigma's life of obscurity
Stephen Stewart
BBC Scotland news website reporter

He went from a life of total obscurity to become one of the suspects in an attack which brought terror to Scotland.

Kafeel Ahmed was the second man detained during the Glasgow Airport incident in which a burning Jeep crashed into the terminal building.

It's believed the 27-year-old had left Bangalore, India, to make a new life in the west.

Kafeel Ahmed
Kafeel Ahmed died after suffering severe burns in the attack
However, he became a terror suspect, reportedly transformed into a ruthless activist intent on bringing death and mayhem to Scotland - a country which traditionally thought it was immune to terrorism.

During the attack on 30 June, Ahmed was said to have emerged from the Jeep covered in flames.

He fought desperately with police and passers-by who tried to pull him away from the scene.

Soon after events at the airport, it emerged that Ahmed was an engineer with a PhD in design and technology.

The young man's world was a patchwork of rumour and speculation, although it appears that his life in the UK started inconspicuously enough.

It is thought that Ahmed was one of scores of Indian students who entered Queen's University, Belfast, in 2001 and remained in Northern Ireland until 2004.

Severe burns

He studied for his PhD in the department of design and technology at Anglia Polytechnic University (now called Anglia Ruskin University) in Cambridge.

During the airport attack, he suffered burns to 90% of his body and was not expected to survive for long.

Reports have emerged that Ahmed was part of a cell which may also have planned attacks in Australia and the US.

Kafeel Ahmed arrest
Kafeel Ahmed is pinned down by police after the attack
He and his brother Sabeel, who was also arrested, had applied to work in Australia but were turned down.

According to some reports, just before the Glasgow attack, Ahmed is said to have spoken to his mother and sister with the message: "I will go to that place, finish that work and go to London and will return to Bangalore from there. All this may take a month's time."

Despite the hazy details of his life, one thing remains indisputable.

Ahmed's death after weeks in intensive care, robs the police and security services of a potential witness to a chain of terror which stretches around the world.


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