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Gang of extremists 'plotted to kill police officer in IS-inspired terror attack'

A gang of British extremists plotted to kill soldiers, police officers and even civilians on the streets of London in a series of Islamic State-inspired drive-by shootings on a moped, a court heard.

The young men had got their hands on a gun and ammunition and were discussing buying an untraceable scooter before three of them were arrested in September 2014, jurors heard.

The ring-leader, Tarik Hassane, then returned to London from abroad to carry on as a "lone wolf terrorist" without his friends, the Old Bailey heard.

Using Google Streetview he allegedly identified Shepherd's Bush police station and the Parachute Regiment Territorial Army Barracks at White City as possible targets before he too was picked up.

Nyall Hamlett, 25, Nathan Cuffy, 26, Suhaib Majeed, 21, and Hassane, 22, all from west London, deny conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts. Some of them are also variously charged with firearms offences.

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC told their trial that it was no martyrdom mission - they had an escape plan which suggested more than one killing was afoot.

He said: "T he evidence points to this being a plot to kill, a plot to execute a policeman or a soldier or as I say even an ordinary member of the public, in one or more assassinations either involving a drive-by shooting or a shooting on foot and then a speedy escape by moped."

The defendants were allegedly influenced by events in Syria and Iraq and the rise of Islamic State of Levant which in June of that year had renamed itself Islamic State and pronounced itself a caliphate.

Hassane had pledged his allegiance to IS and the plot received "important direct and authoritative encouragement" in September 2014 in the form of a speech on YouTube from the IS official spokesman, the Old Bailey heard.

In it, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami issued a fatwa to kill disbelievers in the West.

Cuffy, Majeed and Hamlett were arrested in September 2014 before Hassane returned to Britain from Sudan where he was studying medicine.

They had already acquired a self-loading pistol, a magazine with ammunition and a silencer and Hassane and Majeed had discussed buying a £2,000 moped, as well as finding a garage to store their equipment, Mr Altman said.

In the days before his arrest on October 7, Hassane had carried out "hostile reconnaissance" by searching Google Streetview for targets, jurors heard.

Mr Altman said: "What his Google search shows is the type of targets he and his co-conspirators had been considering.

"But Hassane was now, in the absence of the others, quite clearly intending to progress the plan as a lone wolf terrorist to further IS's terror reach into the capital city of this country."

Hassane led the plot from abroad and issued his instructions to his close friend Majeed, the court heard.

Majeed, who was studying physics at King's College London, was also an "essential cog" in the machine, setting up secret communications, the prosecutor said.

Hamlett, who worked for a cleaning company, was the alleged "middleman" between Cuffy and the other conspirators, passing on a weapon to Majeed.

When police arrived at Majeed's home, the gun, silencer and bullets were thrown out of his bedroom window, jurors heard.

The Money Shop worker Cuffy allegedly supplied the weapon, ammunition and silencer. When his home was searched, police found a stash of four guns and a variety of ammunition in his bedroom.

While some of the defendants had admitted firearms charges, they do not account for the full extent of their guilt, Mr Altman said.

Hassane and Majeed were both members of a Telegram online chat group called Turnup Terror Squad, the court heard.

On July 10 2014, Hassane allegedly posted a message saying "Make dua that Tarik gets a free fat strap".

This was cited by the prosecution as an example of mixed Arabic and street slang taken to mean "pray that he gets a free cool gun".

Police later discovered pictures on Majeed's iPhone of Hassane apparently posing with a gun. In one image he also held a book on Osama bin Laden, the court heard.


From Belfast Telegraph