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Islamic State fanatic who encouraged terror cell in Germany jailed for life

Iranian-born Fatah Abdullah learned how to make a pressure cooker bomb to teach his continental conspirators Omar Babek and Ahmed Hussein.

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Fatah Abdullah (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

Fatah Abdullah (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

Fatah Abdullah (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

An Islamic State fanatic who encouraged a terror cell in Germany to commit mass murder with a car, bomb and meat cleaver has been jailed for life with a minimum term of nine years.

Iranian-born Fatah Abdullah, 35, learned how to make a pressure cooker bomb to teach his continental conspirators Omar Babek and Ahmed Hussein.

He bought more than 8,000 matches, explosive precursors, fireworks, fuses and a remote control detonator, the Old Bailey heard.

It is believed he may even have tested out some ingredients to make gunpowder from his flat in the Arthur’s Hill area of Newcastle, the court heard.

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Fireworks seen during the trial of Fatah Mohammed Abdullah who has been jailed for life (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

Fireworks seen during the trial of Fatah Mohammed Abdullah who has been jailed for life (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

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Fireworks seen during the trial of Fatah Mohammed Abdullah who has been jailed for life (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

In an encrypted message, he told the plotters in Germany: “You select your target for the car, after you have set off the explosions, you target crowd or group of people with your car you drive through them, and find a meat clever which is used by butchers, once you have ran them over with the car get out of the car start attacking them with it.

“If you couldn’t attack them with a car after the explosion attack them with knife, Sword or meat cleaver.

“The aim is that you kill them and make them feel terrified and show them that (so-called Islamic State), is here and Islam is here, the most important thing is that you carry out the jihad.”

Abdullah, who was granted asylum in the UK, was arrested a month before Hussein and Babek were caught last January.

In an attempt to distance himself, Abdullah claimed he bought a pocket knife on Amazon to cut grass for his rabbits.

A food mixer from eBay was to make pizza dough and an SAS-style balaclava was for when it was cold, he said.

Abdullah also told police that 200g of sulphur powder was for growing flowers and denied knowing about its use in the production of gunpowder.

Hussein and Babek went on to plead guilty to preparation of a serious act of violent subversion involving unlawful handling of explosive substances and were sentenced to four years, eight months in prison in Germany.

In March, Abdullah pleaded guilty to inciting terrorism overseas and engaging in conduct in preparation to assist others to commit terrorist acts.

On Friday, Mr Justice Sweeney sentenced him to concurrent life sentences with a minimum term of nine years.

The judge said Abdullah was a dangerous offender and his “ultimate aim” was to “cause mass murder in Germany”.

He went on: “The fact the ultimate offences were to be carried out by others abroad does not diminish their gravity in any way.

“There can be no doubt your acts were of significant assistance and encouragement.”

Jenny Hopkins, from the CPS, said: “Even though he was hundreds of miles away and never met the would-be attackers, Fatah Abdullah was the driving force behind the plot.

“His devotion to Daesh’s brutal ideology meant he wanted to murder and maim as many people as he could.

We cannot underestimate the significant harm and loss of life that could have occurred as a result of his actions and behaviourDetective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden

“Thanks to the work of the UK’s counter-terrorism police, German authorities and dedicated CPS prosecutors and counsel, Abdullah won’t be a danger to those at home or abroad.”

Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, said: “Today’s sentencing brings to conclusion a detailed and protracted investigation by our team in the North East.

“Abdullah had taken very real and significant steps to plan an attack and had purchased components he needed to develop an improvised explosive device.

“He prepared and tested a detonation system in order to show others how to create and use the system to cause an explosion in Germany and cause significant harm to others.

“His extensive contact across digital platforms evidences his determination and intent to influence Hussein and Babek and encourage them to commit the most horrendous acts of violence.

“While our investigation did not establish the target of a potential attack, Abdullah posed a very real risk.

“We cannot underestimate the significant harm and loss of life that could have occurred as a result of his actions and behaviour. We’re grateful we were able to disrupt these plans before there was an opportunity to see them through.”

PA