Saturday 20 January 2018

Plotters planned to detonate series of UK suicide bombs in attack – courts

Margaret Davis

PLOTTERS planned to detonate a series of suicide bombs in an attack that could have been bigger than the July 7 atrocities, a court heard today.

Irfan Naseer, 31, and Irfan Khalid, 27, travelled to Pakistan for terrorist training before returning to the UK in July last year, jurors at Woolwich Crown Court were told.

In one conversation, Naseer was heard agreeing that the July 7 attacks had not done enough damage because there were no nails in the bombs.

The two men, along with Ashik Ali, also 27, are accused of being "central figures" in the alleged extremist plot.

Ali told police in interview that the plan had involved him wearing a suicide vest as well as carrying a gun, the jury heard.

The group also discussed the use of poisons and attaching blades to the side of a vehicle before driving it into a crowd of people, it is claimed.

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC told the court: "The police successfully disrupted a plan to commit an act or acts of terrorism on a scale potentially greater than the London bombings in July 2005 had it been allowed to run its course.

"The defendants were proposing to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs in a suicide attack and/or to detonate bombs on timers in crowded areas in order to cause mass deaths and casualties."

All the men are accused of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, which they deny.

Naseer is accused of five counts of the offence, Khalid four and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 2011.

For Nasser, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, all in Birmingham, this is alleged to have included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism.

Nasser and Khalid are also accused of travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism, and it is alleged that Naseer also helped others to travel to the country for the same purpose.

While in Pakistan, prosecutors claim Naseer and Khalid received training in how to use weapons and how to make bombs and poisons, and made suicide videos while they were there.

After they returned to Britain it is claimed the group then began trying to make home-made bombs, using a flat in Sparkbrook as their base.

The group are also accused of making bogus charity collections in Birmingham for Muslim Aid as well as a local Muslim centre.

But the two causes received only a fraction of the money they had collected, prosecutors say, while the rest was intended to fund the attack plan.

Mr Altman said they were "despicably stealing money from their own community donated to charity".

In total, 11 men of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin were arrested over the alleged plot, and one woman.

It is claimed that another four of the men were sent to Pakistan to receive terrorist training - Naweed Ali, 25, and Ishaaq Hussain, Khobaib Hussain and Shahid Khan, all 20.

Prosecutors say that Mohammed Rizwan, 33, and Bahader Ali, 29, were "wavering" about whether to get involved in the plot or to go to fight with jihadis abroad.

Rahin Ahmed, 26, was allegedly used as the group's financier, and it is claimed that Mujahid Hussain, 21, was involved in fundraising.

The court heard that the group had brought a sports injury cold pack, wrongly believing it contained a chemical that could be used in bomb making.

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