Aircraft bombings in "revenge for Iraq": court

Fri Apr 4, 2008 2:52pm EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Six Britons accused of plotting to blow up at least seven transatlantic airliners recorded martyrdom videos saying the attacks would be revenge for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a London court was told on Friday.

Prosecutors said two of the suspects were secretly recorded discussing whether wives and children should go with them on the suicide mission.

In extracts of the videos heard in court the men said they wanted to punish non-Muslims and threatened "floods of martyrdom operations" because Osama bin Laden's warnings had been ignored.

"If you think you can go into our lands and do what you are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and keep on supporting those who are fighting against Muslims and think it will not come back on your own doorstep may you have another think (sic) coming," Umar Islam, one of the eight defendants said.

On Thursday, the jury heard the men had planned to use liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks to simultaneously blow up aircraft heading to Canada and the United States, causing widespread loss of life.

The eight British citizens on trial at the maximum security Woolwich Crown Court in east London, are Abdullah Ahmad Ali, 27, Assad Sarwar, 27, Tanvir Hussain, 27, Mohammed Gulzar, 26, Ibrahim Savant, 27, Arafat Khan, 26, Waheed Zaman, 23, and Umar Islam, 29. All are charged with conspiracy to murder.

They are also accused of plotting "to commit an act of violence likely to endanger the safety of an aircraft." They deny the charges.

Prosecutor Peter Wright said the suicide videos had been discovered in a camera in Sarwar's car and on a cassette tape in the garage of his home. In all the videos, the men sat dressed in black in front of a black flag with Arabic writing in white.   Continued...

<p>A combination image of police handout photos presented at Woolwich Crown Court on April 3, 2008 of suspects accused of plotting to blow up transatlantic airliners using liquid explosive bombs. The suspects on trial are (Top L-R) Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Arafat Waheed Khan, Assad Sarwar and Ibrahim Savant (Bottom L-R) Mohammed Gulzar, Tanvir Hussain, Umar Islam and Waheed Zaman. REUTERS/Metropolitan Police/Handout</p>