Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Terror bomb plot men face life term

Irfan Naseer, left, and Irfan Khalid have been convicted of being 'central figures' in an extremist plot (West Midlands Police/PA)

Three men are facing life in prison after being found guilty of a terror plot to detonate up to eight suicide bombs and possibly other devices on timers.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all from Birmingham, were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of planning the attack, which could have been bigger than the July 7 atrocities.

Police believe it was the most significant terror plot to be uncovered since the 2006 conspiracy to blow up transatlantic airliners using bombs disguised as soft drinks. Khalid even boasted that the attack was "another 9/11".

After the trio were found guilty, Mr Justice Henriques said that they will all face life in prison when they are sentenced in April or May.

Speaking to Naseer, he said: "You are a highly skilled bomb maker and explosives expert. You sought to persuade others that a terror plot here in this country was by far preferable to fighting jihad abroad.

"The scale and extent of your ambition was similarly manifest. You were seeking to recruit a team of somewhere between six and eight suicide bombers to carry out a spectacular bombing campaign, one which would create an anniversary along the lines of 7/7 or 9/11."

The judge told Khalid he was "virtually inseparable" from Naseer. "You were very much his confidant and his right-hand man."

He said to Ali: "I had mistakenly formed the view that you were a rather foolish recruit to this terrorist cell and rather less dangerous than your co-accused. You have dissuaded me from that view. You are intelligent, devious and highly manipulative."

Naseer was found guilty of five counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, Khalid four, and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 2011. For Naseer, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, this included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism.

Six other men, who are also from Birmingham, have admitted terror offences in relation to the plot. They are Rahin Ahmed 26, from Moseley; Mujahid Hussain, 21, from Yardley; Naweed Ali, 25, Ishaaq Hussain, 21, Khobaib Hussain, 22, and Shahid Khan, 21, all from Sparkhill.

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