Thousands of people would have died in a terrorist plot to detonate home-made bombs on seven transatlantic jets, a court has heard.
Eight Islamic extremists conspired to smuggle bombs constructed from household goods and disguised as soft drinks on to the aircraft, Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the London-based cell intended to cause civilian deaths on an “unprecedented scale” and strike a blow that “would reverberate across the globe”.
Six members of the gang recorded martyrdom videos as they prepared to carry out their deadly plan, the jury heard.
Each of the men sat down to record messages threatening violence against the West in revenge for the “oppression” of Muslims.
The plot was led by two ringleaders acting on instructions from masterminds in Pakistan to draw together a gang of suicide bombers from radicalised and vulnerable young Muslims, Mr Wright said.
Opening the prosecution yesterday, he told the court some defendants were “foot soldiers” with no knowledge of the scale of the conspiracy but who had the “cold-eyed certainty of the fanatic”.
The jury was told the conspiracy was blown open when police swooped on senior gang figures Abdulla Ahmed Ali and Assad Sarwar in a Walthamstow car park on August 9, 2006.
A computer memory stick holding details of flights from Heathrow Airport to North America from August 2006 onwards was found in Ali’s pocket.
An address book containing detailed instructions and preparations for the terrorist strike was found in another pocket, the prosecution alleged.
All eight men each deny conspiracy to murder. Those in the dock are: Ali, aka Ahmed Ali Khan (28) of Prospect Hill, Walthamstow; Sarwar (28) of Walton Drive, High Wycombe; Tanvir Hussain, (27) of Nottingham Road, Leyton, east London; Ibrahim Savant (28) of Denver Road, Stoke Newington, north London; Arafat Waheed Khan (27) of Farnan Avenue, Walthamstow; Waheed Zaman, (24) of Queen’s Road, Walthamstow; Umar Islam, aka Brian Young (30) of Bushey Road, Plaistow, east London; and Donald Stewart-Whyte (22) of Hepplewhite Close, High Wycombe.