French spies and a neo-Nazi plot to kill Abu Hamza
Paris was so fed up with British inaction that plans were made to assassinate the Islamic hate cleric, a report claims
FRENCH spies plotted to pose as neo-Nazis to assassinate extremist cleric Abu Hamza in London because they were so frustrated with Britain’s failure to deal with him, it was claimed on Sunday night.
They planned to send the fanatic fake death threats from the far right group Combat 18 before shooting him with weapons said to be associated with that group.
In a separate move, they also plotted to kidnap Hamza and take him to France, a report by the campaign group Hope not Hate claimed.
Intelligence services across the Channel hatched the assassination plan in 1999 amid tensions between the two countries over the scale of Islamist extremism in the UK.
They also wanted to seize on concerns at the time about far right extremism in the wake of the nail bombings in London that year by neo-Nazi David Copeland, which left three people dead and more than a hundred injured.
Hamza and other fanatics based at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, were suspected of having links with Rachid Ramda, who was eventually jailed for his involvement in the 1995 Paris Metro bombings.
Amid a long-running battle to extradite Ramda from the UK to face trial, the French dubbed the capital 'Londonistan' because of its reputation for sheltering Muslim terrorists.
They were angry over the apparent freedom a group of militant Algerians were given here, including Ramda who was eventually extradited in 2005 and jailed for 10 years.
The French plot was contained in an in-depth report about the now-banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, which Hamza had links with.
It also claims the group and its various off shoots has been linked with up to 70 terrorists or suspects and that it former leader, Anjem Choudary, is now at the centre of an international network of fanatical groups.
The report was co-written by Hope not Hate chief executive Nick Lowles, who is a former editor of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight.
On the Hamza plans, the report said: “One plot hatched by French intelligence that has, until now, not previously come to light, was the idea of assassinating Abu Hamza in London.
“The plan was to impersonate the British Nazi group Combat 18 and then allow them to take the blame.
“In the immediate aftermath of the London nailbombings, the French considered sending death threats in the style of C18 and then killing him with the same type of weaponry that the group was thought to possess.
“However, as with the kidnap plan, the assassination attempt was aborted and it is unclear how advanced the planning of either idea progressed.”
It is claimed he was the focus of the French in 1998 as well during the run up to the World Cup.
The report said: “The French authorities had serious concerns about possible terrorist attacks designed to disrupt the games.
“Angered by the inaction of Special Branch and MI5 in the UK, there was serious talk of taking matters into their own hands.”
It said one plot was to “kidnap Abu Hamza as he left his house in West London. He would be nabbed on the street, forced into the back of a van and then driven to Dover and snuck onto a French ferry.”
Hamza was a regular preacher of hate in the UK until he was jailed for seven years in 2006 for inciting murder and racial hatred.
Last year he was extradited to America where he is facing terror charges.
Had the plot been carried out it would have almost certainly sparked a diplomatic incident similar to other high profile murders.
In 1978, Georgi Markov, the Bulgarian dissident and writer, was killed after being stabbed with an umbrella tip with contained the poison ricin on Waterloo Bridge in London. He died three days later.
His assassin was never caught but is widely believed to have been acting on the orders of the then hardline Communist rulers in Bulgaria, who were the regular subject of criticism by Mr Markov.
Relations between Russia and Britain were also put under immense strain following the murder of dissident and former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
He died after being poisoned with polonium which his family claim was carried out on the orders of the Russian state.
On other issues, the report, Gateway to Terror, claims 70 people convicted or terror-related offences or known to have died fighting overseas in the last 14 years had a link to al-Muhajiroun.
Hundreds more have been convicted of extremist offences.
The group was banned in 2010 and the report said there was no evidence to suggest former leaders Omar Bakri Muhammad or Choudary had any involvement in any terror plot.
However, it claims the group was the “biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history”.
It claims Choudary has also been praised by Samantha Lewthwaite, the “white widow” terror suspect, on Twitter and that he has influenced, helped set up or has links with extremist groups around Europe and America.