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Man 'planned attack similar to Lee Rigby on US soldiers in UK'

Published 17/02/2016

Junead Khan is on trial at Kingston Crown Court charged with making preparations for attacking military personnel in the UK
Junead Khan is on trial at Kingston Crown Court charged with making preparations for attacking military personnel in the UK

An alleged Islamic extremist talked about carrying out a terror attack on US soldiers outside military bases in Britain similar to that on Fusilier Lee Rigby, a court has heard.

Delivery driver Junead Khan, 25, described creating a road accident involving vehicles carrying American military personnel, weeks after driving past bases operated by the US Air Force (Usaf) in East Anglia, prosecutors claim.

His trial heard that he used an encrypted messaging app called SureSpot to talk with a man calling himself Abu Hussain, who the prosecution allege was Junaid Hussain, a Briton in Syria.

The jury was read messages from July 5 last year between Hussain and Khan.

Hussain said "I can get you addresses but of British soldiers" to which Khan replied "that could also be possible".

Hussain added: "Most soldiers live in bases which are protected. I suppose on the road is the best idea. Or if you want akhi I can tell u how to make a bomb."

Khan, from Luton, then told Hussain: "When I saw these us (sic) soldiers on road it looked simple but I had nothing on me or wouldve (sic) got into an accident with them and made them get out the car."

Hussain replied: "That's what the brother done with Lee Rigby."

He went on to say he would send Junead Khan a manual for making a "pressure cooker bomb", adding: "It's best to have at least pipe bombs or pressure cooker bomb in a backpack in case something happens - so you can do isthishadi bomb in case they try arrest you."

Prosecutor Max Hill QC told Kingston Crown Court in London: "This is an individual (Khan) who is a delivery driver who is going to the perimeter fences, on occasion, of US bases in this country.

"What does that mean? It's perfectly clear from the response ... 'That's what the brother done with Lee Rigby'."

Mr Hill said an isthishadi bomb was a "suicide bomb", adding: "That is what Junaid Hussain is advising, to do a suicide bomb in case they (police) try to arrest Junead Khan."

Khan's work as an agency driver for a pharmaceutical firm legitimately took him to East Anglia in May and June 2015, the court heard.

During these trips he drove close to bases operated by Usaf - RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, RAF Feltwell in Norfolk, and RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire, the prosecution allege.

He was arrested on July 14. Junead Khan is charged alone with making preparations for attacking military personnel in the UK between May 10 and July 14 last year, which he denies.

He is on trial alongside his uncle, Shazib Khan, 23, also from Luton, with whom he is jointly charged with making preparations for travelling to Syria to fight for Islamic State (IS). The pair deny engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts between August 1 2014 and July 15 2015.

The prosecution claim that Junead planned to travel to Syria with his relative but altered his plan to focus on an attack in the UK, either on British or US service personnel.

The court has already heard documents found on Junead's computer showed he researched buying items including a combat knife on Amazon.

Mr Hill told the jury: "He (Junead) was considering and planning action in this country which was coming closer to fruition once he started searching for knives and other items.

"Therefore the police acted at the right moment on July 14 and thereby interrupted Junead Khan's plan in time but still leaving him guilty of this charge."

He told the court that after his arrest at his work depot in Letchworth in Herts, Junead said to police officers that they were "liars" with "no evidence", adding: "You think you are powerful, may Allah destroy you."

Neither man made comment during subsequent police interviews, Mr Hill said, apart from Shazib Khan once saying "where is your evidence?".

The trial continues.

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