Saturday, June 25 2016

Birmingham trio on trial for 'British version of 9/11' plot

There is coverage in the papers today (Daily Telegraph, Independent and Guardian) of the trial of three Muslims from Birmingham charged with terrorist offences. The men are alleged to have plotted ‘the British version of 9/11’.

From the Independent:

“The ringleaders of a home-grown terror cell were secretly recorded plotting a coordinated suicide attack by eight militants carrying rucksacks stuffed with explosives in what was designed to be the British version of the 9/11 attacks, a court heard today.

“The Birmingham-based plotters discussed plans to blow themselves up or set off bombs in crowded areas to cause mass deaths and “carnage in the name of Allah” that would outstrip the death toll in the attacks on the London transport network in 2005, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

“Police bugging devices caught one of the men suggesting that the 7/7 strikes seven years ago, which killed 52 people, had “gone a bit wrong” because the suicide attackers had forgotten to put nails in the bombs to cause maximum damage, said Brian Altman QC, for the prosecution.

““The intention was plainly to kill and injure people while achieving their own martyrdom if at all possible,” said Mr Altman on the opening day of the trial at Woolwich Crown Court, southeast London.

“Two of the men, Irfan Naseer, 31, a pharmacy graduate, and Irfan Khalid, 27, twice travelled to terrorist training camps in Pakistan and sought to instruct a third man, Ashik Ali, 27, when they returned about making bombs in his Birmingham flat, the court heard.

“The three, among 11 men and a woman rounded up by police officers from September last year, were said to be central figures in the plot and were responsible for recruiting others, planning the attack and raising money.

“The three defendants, who deny terrorist offences, were said to be inspired by Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born extremist, who was killed in a drone attack along with other militants in the Yemen 12 days after the first of the arrests in Birmingham.

“However their plans for a terrorist spectacular were hampered by a string of setbacks. They included the loss of some £9,000 by their chief fundraiser because of “unwise and incompetent” trading on the foreign currency exchanges.

“The court heard that the money amounted to the majority of the sums they raised illegally on the streets of Birmingham in the name of the charity Muslim Aid. They planned to use some of the money to set up a dawah, an Islamic teaching centre in Birmingham, which Mr Khalid described as a “beautiful cover” to recruit men for jihad.

“Other setbacks included the swift return of four men sent to Pakistan for terror training after one of the men “messed up” and called his family from Pakistan and they organised their return.

“The court heard that the three defendants were placed under long-term surveillance before the two Irfans returned from their second long trip to Pakistan.

“Bugging devices were put inside the house used as a bomb-making factory at White Street, in Birmingham, and two cars owned by Naseer and the fundraiser Rahin Ahmed, who has already pleaded guilty to terrorist offences, the court heard.”

The trial continues at Woolwich Crown Court.

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