Three British Islamists convicted of plotting "another 9/11"

Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:25am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Three British Islamists were found guilty on Thursday of plotting a campaign of bombings in crowded areas in an attempt to create what one of them called "another 9/11".

A jury at Woolwich Crown Court in south London convicted Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, of a total of 12 counts of committing acts in preparation for a terrorist attack between December 2010 and September 2011.

The trio were central figures in a plot to blow up eight rucksack bombs in a mass suicide attack as well as detonating bombs on timers in crowded places. Their targets remain unidentified.

The court heard they had also considered welding knife blades to a truck and ramming it into a crowd of people.

"The evidence we put to the court showed the defendants discussing with awe and admiration the attacks of 9/11 and 7/7," said specialist counter-terrorism prosecutor Karen Jones in a statement after the verdict.

The name "7/7" is given in Britain to the attacks on London's public transport by Islamist militants on July 7, 2005, which killed more than 50 people.

"These terrorists wanted to do something bigger, speaking of how 7/7 had 'gone a bit wrong'," Jones said in her statement.

The men will be sentenced at a later date. Judge Richard Henriques warned them to expect sentences of life in prison, the Press Association (PA) reported from court.

"You were seeking to recruit a team of somewhere between six and eight suicide bombers to carry out a spectacular bombing campaign, one which would create an anniversary along the lines of 7/7 or 9/11," the PA quoted Henriques as telling Naseer.   Continued...

Ashik Ali, Irfan Khalid and Irfan Naseer (L-R) are seen in undated mugshots provided by the West Midlands Police in Birmingham February 21, 2013. REUTERS/West Midlands Police/handout