Men sought 'spiral of violence'
Muslim extremists who planned a bloody attack on an English Defence League rally could have sparked a "tit-for-tat spiral of violence and terror", a court has heard.
The plot to strike at the EDL event in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in June last year only failed by chance, and the six conspirators would have gone on to attack another rally by the far right group had they not been stopped, the Old Bailey was told.
Jewel Uddin, 27, Omar Mohammed Khan, 31, Mohammed Hasseen, 24, Anzal Hussain, 25, Mohammed Saud, 23, and Zohaib Ahmed, 22, admitted planning the attack at a hearing on April 30.
Dozens of EDL supporters gathered outside the court on Friday amid a heightened police presence as the two-day sentencing began. With English flags on display, they could be heard chanting "Anjem Choudary, off our streets", referring to the radical preacher, and "EDL".
Leader Tommy Robinson and his deputy Kevin Carroll briefly went into the public gallery of Court 12 to watch the beginning of the hearing. Mr Robinson glared into the dock and appeared to smirk as he walked out of the public gallery. Two men aged 24 and 26 were arrested outside the court during the course of the day, both on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, City of London Police said.
Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema QC told the court: "In the months leading up to June 30, 2012 these six men, all ideologically committed to radical Islam, planned to execute a terrible vengeance on the English Defence League for what they perceived to be the EDL's recent blasphemous words and actions against the Prophet Mohammed and Islam.
"Their plain and now admitted intention was to carry out a terrorist attack using a varied selection of offensive weapons: an improvised explosive device, two sawn-off shotguns, swords and knives. As well as members of the EDL and police officers on duty, ordinary shoppers and workers would have been in the town centre at the time of the rally, at the time of the planned attack."
All of the men except Hasseen travelled to Dewsbury on the day of the rally but arrived at around 4pm, while the event had finished earlier than expected at 2pm.
They were armed with two shotguns, swords, knives, a nail bomb containing 458 pieces of shrapnel, and a partially assembled pipe bomb. The nail bomb was an 18in rocket stuffed with shrapnel and was to be powered by explosives taken from at least two large fireworks.
The court heard that in 2012 the EDL held 130 events, at which 677 arrests occurred, 500 of which involved confirmed EDL members. The group was set up in 2009 to protest against the perceived "Islamification" of the UK, Ms Cheema said. The hearing was adjourned until Friday.