Father of missing man denounces insinuations

11th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, July 10 (AFP) - The father of a Frenchman missing following the London blasts denounced Saturday what he termed media insinuation that his son could have been linked to the bombers.

LONDON, July 10 (AFP) - The father of a Frenchman missing following the London blasts denounced Saturday what he termed media insinuation that his son could have been linked to the bombers.

"I came here as a father and out of love for my son," said Mohammed Slimane, a French citizen of Tunisian origin.

"In the name of my family I cannot accept the insinuations made by some French journalists," he added in response to reports in some media suggesting his son might have had some contact with the bombers.

English tabloids have also been chasing information about Slimane Ihab, who arrived in London on June 14.

"Ihab came to Great Britain to learn the language which he likes so much," his father said.

"He is a timid lad, obedient, kind.

"He has a love for his family which I cannot explain," Mohammed Slimane insisted of his IT engineer son, a student in the southeastern city of Grenoble who was making his first trip abroad.

Early Thursday, just before three trains and a bus were blown up, killing at least 50 people and injuring hundreds more, Ihab took the Underground from Finsbury Park in north London to Gabriel, a restaurant in Piccadilly, central London, where he worked as a waiter.

But he never arrived.

"On Wednesday he told us he intended to stay in England. He didn't like his accommodation but he started to enjoy his stay when he met Benjamin and Adrien," two compatriots, Mohammed Slimane explained.

Ihab arranged work and a place to stay at Coleridge, near Finsbury Park, through Xavier Rebergue, a Frenchman who runs First Accommodation and who was the first to contact the media when the Lyon-born youngster nicknamed Djamel did not turn up for work.

Finsbury Park is renowned for being home to a mosque with a reputation for attracting radical Muslims.

But according to Mohammed Slimane his son "was completely against religion, not religious at all."

A source close to the investigation into the bombings said police had not asked French authorities for information in Ihab while a police spokesman, asked if Scotland Yard was investigating his background, declined to comment on his case to AFP.

Told that French police had opened a routine investigation into his son Mohammed Slimane said: "I have complete confidence in my son's behaviour, education and life. I know where he goes, I know how he lives."

A diabetic who also suffers from heart problems, Mohammed Slimane said he would keep up his search.

"Hope keeps me going. Even a single hair would give me something to go on. The investigations of the British authorities give me a bit of hope."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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