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Police officers dressed in white overalls cover the face of a suspect as he is led from an apartment building in the Notting Hill area of London, Friday. (AP Photo)

British police believe all four unsuccessful suicide bombers who tried to attack London's transit system on July 21 are now in custody.

Two of the suspects were captured on Friday in a dramatic but bloodless raid on an apartment in the trendy Notting Hill neighbourhood of west London. Another suspect was arrested in Rome, officials said.

The first suspect in the case was arrested on Wednesday in the central English city of Birmingham.

The detained men are thought to be the four people whose images were captured on grainy surveillance footage as they either entered or left London's transit system on July 21.

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Police officers wear masks and protective vests while carrying out a raid in west London, Friday. (AP Photo)

Police said a fifth man was arrested separately in London on Friday and will be questioned in connection with the July 21 bombing attempts.

It was not clear what role, if any, he was suspected of playing in a string of bombings or attempted bombings that have plagued the British capital since July 7.

The first set of bombings were devastating in their impact, killing 52 passengers on three subway trains and a bus, along with the four suicide bombers who detonated them.

Two weeks later, the detonators of four more bombs went off as planned in three subway cars and a bus, but the main load of explosives failed to ignite.

The would-be suicide bombers abandoned their dangerous packages and ran off in the ensuing panic.

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A fifth unexploded bomb was found in a park on Saturday, two days after the July 21 bombing attempts.

Italians hail arrest of British citizen

Shortly after Friday's arrests in London, Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said that Osman Hussain, a British citizen originally from Somalia, had been picked up in Rome.

Hussain is suspected of trying to blow himself up along with other passengers on a subway train near the Shepherd's Bush station on July 21.

"The arrest made a short while ago in Rome of ... the fourth attacker on July 21 in London is really deserving of praise," said a statement from Pisanu.

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London police carry out an armed operation in west London.

Plans were being made to extradite Hussain back to Britain.

Police traced him through cellphone calls made on his way to stay with a relative, an internet café owner in Rome.

Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, who was arrested in Birmingham Wednesday, is suspected of trying to blow himself up on a subway train near the Warren Street subway station on July 21.

The two men arrested in the Notting Hill apartment are thought to have tried to blow themselves up on a double-decker bus in east London and on a train near the Oval subway station, respectively.

Acording to Peter Clarke, head of the London police anti-terrorist branch, the first man arrested in Notting Hill Friday identified himself as Ibrahim Muktar Said. The other man arrested was Ramzi Mohammed, whose name had not been released before the latest raid.

Stun grenades and gas canisters were apparently used to storm the Notting Hill apartment at about 11:30 a.m. London time, or 6:30 a.m. EDT.

Neighbours moved to safety

Most of the neighbouring residents were quietly moved out before police moved in, though two children could be seen talking to an armed policeman on a lower apartment balcony while the two suspects were still barricaded in the apartment two storeys above.

A media blackout was imposed until the raid was underway because officers said the suspects might be watching BBC or other British television channels.

Witnesses said they saw heavily armed police, some wearing gas masks, black balaclavas and body armour, point weapons from the ground at the third floor of an apartment building.

Before storming in, police officers spent about half an hour shouting instructions for a man in the apartment to undress and come out, witnesses said.

"They're asking him to leave the flat. ... By the looks, they're getting a little fed up," Lisa Davis told British television.

"I heard six loud bangs, which I found out from a policeman were stun grenades I believe, and then I heard two shots," witness Patrick Ball said. "The noise that I heard was an extremely loud bang."

Clark, the anti-terrorism chief, said the suspects "were asked to surrender to police but failed to do so." As a result, "special tactics were used," he said.

The raid occurred near Portobello Road, known for its weekend street market, and in the same general area where the fifth bomb thought to be related to the failed July 21 attacks was found in a park last Saturday.