Would-be suicide bombers face life in jail after plans are thwarted by police
Three men from Birmingham have been told they will face life in prison for plotting to carry out terror attacks, which they intended to be more devastating than the 7th July attacks of 2005.
On Thursday, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court convicted Ashik Ali, 27, Ifran Khalid, 27, and Ifran Naseer, 31, of 12 charges of preparing for a terrorist attack.
The men had travelled to Pakistan for training after reportedly being radicalised by the teachings of the late al-Qaeda official Anwar al-Awlaki, whose legacy is carried on through YouTube videos of his hate sermons and the postings of his English language terrorist manual on internet forums.
On return to Birmingham’s Sparkhill region the three men planned to use Naseer’s background as a chemistry graduate to make bombs out of cold packs.
The trio planned to make eight to ten bombs and detonate them via timers or through suicide bombing. It is not clear which area the men planned to target.
By posing as collectors for the charity Muslim Aid they managed to collect £14,500 within two weeks to fund their bomb-making.
They were arrested in September 2011 after being bugged by police as part of a counter-terror operation involving 400 officers, the largest of its kind in the UK in the past seven years.
Justice Henriques told the men, who are now due to be sentenced in April or May this year, they should expect to spend the remainder of their lives in prison.
Marcus Beale of the West Midlands Police said of the trio: “This group was critical of the 7 July bombers because they didn’t kill enough people. If they delivered on the plans that they had they would have committed mass murder on a horrendous scale.”
Muslim Aid released a statement welcoming the verdict and condemning the trio’s “abuse” of the charity’s image in furthering their goals as would-be terrorists.