Extremist preacher Omar Bakri claimed suspected Crawley suicide bomber Abdul Waheed Majid was a “devoted student” who had worked as his driver, it has been reported.
Bakri, who was banned from Britain by the Home Office nine years ago, is reported to have spoken from his flat in Tripoli, Lebanon, describing Majid as “a very dear brother”.
Majid, 41, is suspected of driving a lorry into a prison in Aleppo, Syria, last week and detonating a bomb.
Police have searched homes in Martyrs Avenue, Langley Drive and St Joans Close, Langley Green, as well as Punch Copse Road, Three Bridges.
Community leader Arif Syed, chairman of Broadfield Mosque, said Muslim people feel they were the victim of a “witch hunt”.
Updates to follow.