En gruppe britiske muslimer står for retten, tiltalt for å ha planlagt en terroraksjon med opptil åtte selvmordsbombere. Lederne var trent i Pakistan. Operasjonen skulle overgå 7/7-aksjonen. Avskjedsvideoer var allerede spilt inn.
Politiet arresterte 11 menn og en kvinne i september i fjor, og det er disse som nå stilles for retten. Gruppen skal ha blitt sterkt influert av Anwar al-Awlakis taler. Awlaki ble drept av en drone 30. september i fjor.
Det er den andre avslørte massedrapsplanen som mediene omtaler denne uken. Den første var 11 terrorister som ble arrestert i Jordan. De var også al Qaida-relaterte og hadde planlagt omfattende aksjoner mot diplomater bl.a.
Terrorgruppen kommer fra Birmingham. Vi snakker igjen om hjemmeavlede britiske terrorister. De to lederne hadde fått opplæring i Pakistan. Det høye antallet pakistanere i Storbritannia er blitt et stort sikkerhetsproblem p.g.a all reisevirksomheten mellom landene. De to terrorlederne som står for Woolwich Crown Court var blitt opplært i våpenbruk, rigging av bomber og bruk av gift. De vendte tilbake til Storbritannia for å rekruttere flere deltakere, som så skulle sendes til Pakistan for opplæring og trening.
Det var meningen å benytte ryggsekker med bomber slik 7/7-bomberne gjorde. I tillegg ville man bruke bomber med timere.
For å skaffe penger til aksjonen samlet man inn penger i Birmingham til en veldedighetsorganisasjon og angivelig en muslimsk skole. Dette var front for terrorinnsamling.
Gruppen samlet inn 130.000 kroner, men bare en brøkdel gikk til de oppgitte formålene. Rahin Ahmed sølte bort mesteparten i mislykkede investeringer.
Aktor understreket at alle de involverte visste nøyaktig hva de bega seg inn på.
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: “The stark fact is that the defendants and those they employed to raise funds with them were despicably stealing from their own community money donated to charity.”
The details emerged as the trial began today of three men described by the prosecution as “the senior members of this home-grown terror cell”.
Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all unemployed from Birmingham, all deny a number of terror charges including planning a bombing campaign, recruiting others for terrorism and terrorism fundraising.
They were among a total of 11 men and one woman arrested by police on various terrorism charges last September.
Mr Altman told the jury of six men and six women: “In September 2011, and after, officers of the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit arrested a number of young men from the Birmingham area, who are resident in this country.
“With it 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, if it had been allowed to runs its course.
“Although the finer details had not been worked out and agreed upon, the defendants were proposing to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs in a suicide attack and/or detonate bombs on timers in crowded areas in order to cause mass deaths and casualties.
“As you will hear, one of them was even to describe their plan as ‘another 9/11’.”
He added: “The defendants are jihadists – extremists, influenced, in particular, but not exclusively, by the lectures and writings of Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US born extremist of Yemeni descent, and an affiliate of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.”
Awlaki was killed by a drone attack just 12 days after the three men were arrested.
Mr Altman said: “Each of the defendants made the deliberate decision to become a terrorist, following, what they believed to be, the right path dictated by their extreme religious and ideological beliefs.”
The three men are accused of attempting to produce home-made bombs in Ashik Ali’s one-bedroom council flat at 23 White Street in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham.
Naseer, nicknamed “Chubbs” or “Big Irfan” because of his large size, was a trained chemist who had completed a four-year pharmacy degree at Aston University.
Mr Altman said: “The degree was beneficial to this terror cell as it was Naseer’s knowledge of chemistry, together with his training in terrorism, that allowed the defendants to experiment in producing an explosive mix with a view to constructing a home-made explosive device, an IED, in the kitchen of 23 White Street, in the days leading up to the arrest of these defendants and others.”
Khalid, who was known as “Little Irfan” to distinguish him from Naseer, or “Sylvester”, had apparently worked as a security officer in the past.
Ashik Ali, who is visually impaired, claimed in police interview that he had moved into the White Street flat after separating from his wife.
However, evidence from bugged conversations suggests he had in fact cut himself off from his family in pursuit of his “extreme” beliefs in jihad, the jury was told.
The court heard that four other men, Naweed Ali, 24, Ishaaq Hussain, 20, Khobaib Hussain, 20, and Shahid Khan, 20, have pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorism by travelling to Pakistan in August last year for terrorist training.
Three of the young men came back to Britain within days after the family of one of them discovered where they had gone and arranged for their return. The fourth apparently stayed on in Pakistan with family until October.
Ahmed, the fundraiser for the terror cell, has admitted preparing for terrorism by collecting money and investing it for terrorist acts, and by assisting others to travel to Pakistan for terrorist training.
Mujahid Hussain, 21, who was said to be heavily involved in raising money for terrorism, has also pleaded guilty.
Two people whom the defendants allegedly tried to recruit to their plan – Bahader Ali, 29, and Mohammed Rizwan, 33 – deny the charges they face and will stand trial next year.
Ashik Ali’s estranged wife, Salma Kabal, 23, who is accused of knowing of her husband’s terrorist intentions but failing to disclose them to the authorities, will also be tried at a later date.
The trial continues.